TAMPA, Fla. – A Tampa man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.
As part of his sentence, the court also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $245,980, the proceeds of the crime.
William Perez, 28, of Tampa, pleaded guilty on August 31, 2022.
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According to court documents, India-based conspirators falsely and fraudulently identified themselves as federal law enforcement officers, such as Social Security Administration officials, FBI agents, or IRS officers, provided “official” titles and/or “badge numbers,” and threatened their victims with imminent arrest, a lawsuit, and/or other economic consequences, usually based on alleged drug trafficking or money laundering crimes supposedly committed using the victims’ identities.
The conspirators told victims, the majority of whom were older adults, that they could avoid these consequences by mailing checks or cash equivalents to conspirators in the United States.
From April 2018 through at least August 2018, Perez laundered money that had been extorted from United States residents by conspirators residing in the United States and overseas.
Perez received payments directly from victims, typically via packages from a commercial carrier.
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Once he retrieved the fraud proceeds, Perez provided them to his coconspirators and was paid to conduct the transactions.
“Millions of Americans, to include the most vulnerable of the population, have fallen victim to IRS impersonation scheme telephone calls which ultimately led to the loss of their life savings,” said Ronald A. Loecker IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge. “Today’s sentence again demonstrates our persistent resolve to hold fraudsters accountable for taking advantage of both the system and the elderly with the hope justice has been served.”
“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will aggressively pursue anyone who defrauds taxpayers by impersonating themselves as Internal Revenue Service employees,” stated J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of our federal partners in holding this individual to account.”
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This case was investigated by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Huyler.
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