Feds charge 56 suspects in $300 million fraud scheme

WASHINGTON — Federal authorities unsealed an indictment Thursday, charging 56 people in a vast fraud scheme in which suspects posed as Internal Revenue Service agents and immigration authorities to siphon more than $300 million from thousands of unwitting victims to clear fictitious deportation warrants and phony tax debts.

The scheme, which employed a network of telephone call centers based in India, relied on personal information obtained from data brokers to target at least 15,000 victims with threats of fines, deportation or imprisonment if they did not pay the demanded fees.

In the thousands of cases where victims did agree to settle the fictitious accounts, the money allegedly was laundered through groups of U.S. co-conspirators using wire transfers and debit cards.

At least 24 suspects in the U.S. were still being pursued Thursday by federal authorities. Thirty-two suspects were believed to be living abroad. The court documents also outlined charges against five call center operations.

The co-conspirators, according to federal authorities, used so-called “hawala transfers” in which money is transferred internationally outside of the formal banking system to direct extorted funds to accounts belonging to U.S.-based individuals.

At least 24 suspects in the U.S. were still being pursued Thursday by federal authorities. Thirty-two suspects were believed to be living abroad. The court documents also outlined charges against five call center operations.

The co-conspirators, according to federal authorities, used so-called “hawala transfers” in which money is transferred internationally outside of the formal banking system to direct extorted funds to accounts belonging to U.S.-based individuals.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment