Crime - Sacto 911

Granite Bay man arrested for six counts of bank and wire fraud

Granite Bay resident Michael Sahlbach was arrested Friday on six counts of bank and wire fraud, the FBI said in a written statement.

Sahlbach, 60, made an initial federal court appearance Friday relating to charges stemming from his activity as owner and operator of National Credit Acceptance Inc, a Sacramento-based debt collection business. That business purchased pools of consumer debt from other companies at a discount and then attempted to collect on the debt.

For that operation, Sahlbach opened a $25 million line of credit with First Bank by agreeing with the bank that NCA would buy debt by providing 15 percent of the purchase cost, and the bank financing 85 percent of the debt’s cost.

The indictment said that, on several occasions in the fall and winter of 2008, Sahlbach told the bank he had contracted with Lender Exchange to purchase debt pools. As a result, First Bank wired $6.8 million to Lender Exchange. However, Sahlbach had not told the bank that he controlled Lender Exchange or that he had registered Lender Exchange under the alias M. Hansen, with a phony address.

The indictment alleges that Sahlbach transferred funds he received from First Bank to other bank accounts he controlled. The funds were then used for business expenses and to provide money for NCA’s required 15 percent contribution to get additional funds from First Bank.

Sahlbach later defaulted on his entire credit line with First Bank.

If convicted Sahlbach faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $1 million fine.