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56 Charged in Vast IRS, Immigration Fraud Scheme
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Summary: Roughly $300 million was taken from 15,000 victims in a large fraud scheme involving 56 people, some acting as IRS or Immigration agents.

Federal authorities announced charges for 56 people involved in a large fraud scheme. The indictment was unsealed Thursday against the suspects who posed as Internal Revenue Service agents and immigration authorities in order to get money from thousands of victims. Authorities were investigating the scheme for three-years and allege that the group stole over $300 million by using fake tax debts and deportation warrants.


The scheme used a vast network of call centers in India partnered with the personal information gained from data brokers to target a minimum of 15,000 people with threats of deportation, fines, or imprisonment unless they paid the fees. In the cases where people paid the fees, the money was laundered through groups of co-conspirators in the United States with wire transfers and debit cards.

Read $35 Million Settlement Reached in Allen Stanford Ponzi Scheme.

Of the suspects, 24 are from the U.S. Twenty of them were already arrested at the time of the announcement. The other 32 suspects are believed to be living abroad. The five call centers involved also had charges against them outlined in the documents. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, “This is a transnational problem, and demonstrates that modern criminals target Americans both from inside our borders and from abroad.”

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Authorities stated that the co-conspirators used “hawala transfers” which is where money is transferred out of the country away from formal banking systems to accounts belonging to U.S.-based people. The conspirators keep a percentage of the proceeds.

Executive associate director with Immigration and Customs Enforcement Peter Edge said, “To potential victims, our message today is simple. U.S. government agencies do not make these types of calls. And if you receive one, contact law enforcement … before you make a payment.”

Do you think the victims will be able to recover any of their money? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about other large fraud scheme, read 5 Lawyers Charged with Operating Ponzi Schemes.



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