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Man pleads guilty to fraudulently collecting debts

A City of Tonawanda man who fraudulently collected debts he was not owed has pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said 31-year-old Michael Dudley worked for a debt collection business in which he tricked and coerced victims throughout the country into paying debts through a variety of false statements and threats.

Dudley received $72,250 of the fraud proceeds collected by the business as commission, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Dudley and the owner of the debt collection business placed telephone calls to debtors who were involved in bankruptcy proceedings. Prosecutors said the pair posed as attorneys or representatives of bankruptcy courts and induced debtors to make payments to the debt collection business by falsely stating that the payments were necessary for the debtors to finalize their bankruptcy proceedings.

Dudley faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 23 before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.

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