A debt collector in Shavertown, Pa. faces a felony count mail fraud charge after federal prosecutors allege he collected more than $23,000 from a client before closing up shop without working to settle the client's debt.
Timothy Turner, 36, conducted business under the names: The Turner Financial Co., In-Motion Debt Relief, Turner Approved Mortgage and The Mortgage Modification Consultants.
From 2008 until Oct. 31, 2009, prosecutors allege Turner offered the victim debt relief services through In-Motion Debt Relief, claiming he would negotiate settlements with credit card companies for approximately 40% of the balances.
Part of the money would go into an "escrow account" to pay for Turner's fees and the victim's debts, according to the charges. But Turner failed to create an escrow account, instead depositing the money into an account that he later divided into other business accounts, according to prosecutors.
While making personal purchases with the money, Turner mailed the victim monthly statements as part of the scheme, prosecutors said. He failed to settle any of the debt and subsequently closed his business and moved out of state without reimbursing the victim, according to prosecutors.
Turner collected a total of $23,600, of which he claimed $16,000 were for his fees, according to prosecutors. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.