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Man sentenced for defrauding 100 businesses in debt restructuring scheme

A Conewango Valley man who helped defraud more than 100 small business owners out of $397,249 through a debt restructuring scheme was sentenced Thursday to time served in prison, which equaled 9 months.

Prosecutors wanted U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo to send Mark Farnham to prison for 27 months.

Farnham, 26, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, was a manager for Corporate Restructure, a firm in Salamanca and Buffalo, and with other affiliated companies that in 2016 mailed solicitations to small business owners claiming it could help them lower their debts with other lenders by 50 percent to 75 percent, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said.

When talking with victims, Farnham used aliases and lied about the status of the purported loan restructure, according to prosecutors. Farnham deposited victims’ money into the bank accounts of shell companies that never provided any debt services.

The victims each lost from several hundred dollars to almost $20,000, according to court records.

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