Do y'all remember the IRS phone scams that have been occurring over the last couple years? Well, federal officials have investigated them and today arrested dozens of suspects involved.
- Case involves a complex fraud scheme involving a network of call centers originating in India that called victims in the United States impersonating IRS, DHS and other government officials, and demanded payment to clear fictitious warrants of deportation, nonexistent arrest warrants, or to cover allegedly unpaid income taxes.
- Over $300 million taken from victims
- At least 15,000 victims
- 61 total defendants
- U.S. defendants: 24
- Overseas defendants: 32 individuals, 5 call center groups
- Law enforcement agencies participating: Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, ICE-HSI Sacramento, TIGTA Seattle, DHS-OIG Houston, with assistance from U.S. Secret Service in Chicago and police in the Chicagoland area.
- Defendants in U.S. by location: 8 in Illinois, 3 in Florida, 3 in Texas, 2 in Arizona, 3 in California, 1 in Indiana, 1 in Alabama, 2 in New Jersey, and 1 in ERO custody in TX.
The indictment alleges that the defendants were involved in a sophisticated fraudulent scheme organized by conspirators in India, including a network of call centers in Ahmedabad, India. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators allegedly called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. According to the indictment, the call center operators then threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centers would then immediately turn to a network of U.S.-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds as quickly as possible by purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers. The prepaid debit cards were often registered using misappropriated personal identifying information of thousands of identity theft victims, and the wire transfers were directed by the criminal associates using fake names and fraudulent identifications.
MMM... I think there is just someone new trying their hand at it. I got two calls on my cell phone late yesterday afternoon. The phone listed the state as CA.
There are probably hundreds of different offenders out there. This particular case is very important as it is the first time charges will be brought against phone scammers. Hopefully it paves the way for more resources to be thrown at this type of crime.