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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Brooklynite Pleads to Debt Fraud Mission

MANHATTAN (CN) - A former salesman for Mission Settlement Agency pleaded guilty Friday to defrauding more than 1,200 debtors of nearly $2.2 million.

Boris Shulman, of Brooklyn, admitted to lying to prospective customers about Mission's fees during his time there between 2009 and 2012.

Shulman's lawyer declined to comment after the 10-minute hearing.

In May 2013, federal prosecutors charged him in one of three indictments accusing Mission and six people of multiple counts of fraud. Prosecutors said that Mission offered debt-settlement or debt-reduction services for an upfront fee, then waltzed away with the money.

In a fourth, related lawsuit, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accused Mission, two law offices and a "consulting group" of fraud, including impersonating a government agency.

The U.S. Attorney's Office trumpeted the prosecution at the time as the first one ever based on a referral by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created under Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Whereas Mission's website states that it "provides you the opportunity to regain your financial independence and get back on the mission of building the brighter future for you and your family," prosecutors said that its real mission was "preying upon the financial desperation of individuals struggling to pay their credit card debts."

Mission "never paid a penny to the customers' creditors" for roughly a third of the $6.6 million it made in fees, prosecutors said in a press release.

Shulman's co-defendant Denis Kurlyand pleaded guilty to the indictment in August.

Felix Lemberskiy and Zakhir Shirinov meanwhile pled guilty in April, weeks before the indictments were unsealed.

Shulman agreed to forfeit $2.1 million with his plea and faces a maximum 60 years in prison when sentenced on May 30.

The remaining cases against Mission's owner, Michael Levitis, and employee Manuel Cruz, have trials slated for June 2 this year.

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