Five Charged in Fraudulent Debt Collection Scheme

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today the filing of felony charges against Timothy Edmond Burke, Jr. (DOB 8/24/81), of Las Vegas; Deisi Tapia Rivera (DOB 10/18/83), of Las Vegas; Veronica Esther Ventura (DOB 8/20/84), of Oxnard; Angela Maire Covarrubias (DOB 5/14/76), of Ventura; and Elizabeth Angie Olvera (DOB 12/26/77), of Santa Paula. The defendants are charged with multiple felony counts including grand theft, theft from an elder, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit false advertising. In addition, they are charged with the aggravated white-collar crime enhancement for stealing over $100,000. The case was the result of an investigation by the FBI and the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

From 2013 to 2017, Burke and Rivera ran a series of fraudulent debt collection agencies in Ventura County. These entities included Nationwide Debt Busters, Walker Adams & Associates, Financial Service Bureau, Steven Chasity & Associates, and Rutter Riesman & Associates. They offered debt collection services on a contingency basis to businesses and individuals throughout the United States. Victims contracted with the fraudulent collection agencies to provide debt collection services. After victims paid upfront fees, however, either no collection services were actually provided or collected funds were not paid to the creditors. Burke and Rivera used the stolen proceeds to pay their personal expenses. Veronica Esther Ventura joined the scheme in 2015 and acted as the general manager in charge of daily activities. In 2016, Covarrubias and Olvera were involved in the management of the businesses and in the taking of money from victims.

The cases against Burke, Rivera, Ventura, and Covarrubias are set for an early disposition conference on December 4, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., in courtroom 12 of the Ventura County Superior Court. Olvera’s case is set for arraignment on November 16, 2017, at 9:00 a.m., in courtroom 12. Burke and Rivera are currently in custody at the Ventura County jail on $1.1 million bail. Covarrubias and Olvera are out of custody on bail and Ventura is on supervised community release pending the next court hearing.

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is the public prosecutor for the county’s 850,000 residents. The office employs approximately 280 employees including attorneys, investigators, victim advocates, and other professional support staff who strive to seek justice, ensure public safety, and protect the rights of crime victims.

Follow the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office on Twitter @VenturaDAOffice

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