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May 21. 2013 11:01AM

Banker convicted of fraud in scheme involving press maker exec

CONCORD — A Boston banker has been convicted of defrauding customers of Goss International of Dover in a scheme hatched with an executive of the commercial press manufacturer.

James Bender, 48, of Sharon, Mass., was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after a four-day jury trial in U.S. District Court that concluded on Friday. The jury deliberated for two hours before rendering its verdict, according to prosecutor Mark S. Zuckerman, assistant U.S. attorney for New Hampshire.

Bender, a former senior vice president of trade finance at Sovereign Bank, conspired with Paul Wilson, the former manager of international trade finance at Goss International, to defraud several Goss customers in Latin America.

Wilson pleaded guilty last year to three counts of wire fraud after an investigation that began in 2011. He was sentenced in August to a year in federal prison and two years supervised release, and testified as a prosecution witness in Bender’s trial.

Bender and Wilson formed two shell companies, Zephyr Capital and Zephyr Financial, through which they defrauded businesses that purchased presses from Goss.

Their shell companies billed Goss clients for loan underwriting services that were never rendered or performed by Wilson in the regular course of his duties. Wilson’s job was to help Goss’ international customers obtain bank financing and credit insurance from the Export-Import bank of the United States.

Bender arranged for Sovereign Bank to purchase most of the loans Goss extended to its foreign customers. He and Wilson then used the shell companies to bill more than $200,000 in bogus charges to two Brazilian and two Mexican companies over a period of four years.

Bender, who is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 2, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The investigation by the Office of the Inspector General for the Export-Import Bank began after Wilson left Goss. One of the victim companies called his successor to inquire about a Zephyr invoice, and the scheme unraveled.

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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