Charles T. Wilson, 59, Plant City, Florida pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and false statements to a financial institution. Wilson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, from October 1998 through June 2008, Wilson, who was the Credit Manager at The Tampa Tribune, conspired to commit mail fraud by various means and, in so doing, stole more than one million dollars from The Tampa Tribune, Media General, and some of their customers. For example, Wilson changed the last name of a Tribune customer to Wilson in the Tribune’s internal computer system so that money owed to that customer was diverted to him. He also set up a fraudulent debt collection company, CCL Services, and used his position as Credit Manager to approve payments from the Tribune to CCL for debt collection services never rendered-the money went to him.
Wilson used some of his ill-gotten funds to borrow money to build a house in Plant City, Florida. He inflated his wife’s income on the loan application to more than double her actual income to hide the source of the funds.
Wilson’s wife, Lynda Wilson, 48, Plant City, Florida, also pleaded guilty (without a written plea agreement) to making false statements to a financial institution in connection with the Plant City, Florida house mortgage. She faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, II, made the announcement. This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.
As previously reported on Mortgage Fraud Blog, this case is part of the Middle District of Florida’s Mortgage Fraud Initiative, a joint effort of the United States Attorney’s Office and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the Middle District of Florida. The case was originally brought as part of the Mortgage Fraud Surge, an intensive investigative effort that culminated in charges against more than 100 defendants late last fall.