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Debt collector imprisoned for scam

Noah Schapiro, a Williamsville debt collector who is a drug and gambling addict, was sentenced Monday to six to 12 years in prison and was ordered to repay 21 clients and a bank a total of $433,168.

With six of Schapiro's victims in the courtroom, State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns denounced the former stock broker as "simply a thief and a pathological con man" who stole from his debt business clients and Citizens Bank.

Financial crimes prosecutor Candace K. Vogel told the judge that Schapiro, 39, jailed since August, "scammed" young and elderly victims and even some of his friends.

Burns told Schapiro he is sure "there's no reasonable possibility" of any of his victims being repaid.

Schapiro, who pleaded guilty last month and had served brief jail terms for local investment scams in 1998 and 2001, said he is "deeply remorseful" and denied intentionally trying to swindle his former clients.

The judge granted the prosecutor's request that Schapiro be forced to sign confessions of judgment making him at least legally obligated to someday fully repay all his victims.

His lawyer, Robert N. Convissar, told the judge that Schapiro's problems with drugs, drinking, gambling and depression, sparked by the stock market collapse, led to his downfall and the failure of his marriage.

Vogel and State Police Investigator Therese Schroeder said Schapiro conned 21 clients out of $388,168 from March 2008 through September 2009 by promising them big profits in debt-collection funds.

Vogel said Schapiro defrauded Citizens Bank through a check-kiting scheme in May and June 2008 by writing checks to other businesses on a Citizens account that he knew lacked the funds to cover the checks.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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