On Friday, it was announced that two men from New Port Richey, Florida had pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and extortion. 39-year-old David Owen pleaded guilty to a separate telemarketing mail fraud and money laundering scheme. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of the 12 counts of conspiracy, extortion and mail fraud. He will also face another 10 years for each of the four money laundering counts.
24-year-old Andrew Corrigan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of the money laundering and conspiracy charges. The United States will also attempt to seek a money judgment of at least $870,652.66 from the money laundering conspiracies and $315,000 from sweepstakes fraud. Court documents explain that the two defendants recruited individuals to open bank accounts, which would later be used for depositing money from people extorted using tax impersonation calls.
The money would ultimately be deposited by the victims who were contacted by callers pretending to be officials with the Internal Revenue Service, local law enforcement or Canadian tax authorities. The callers would then demand payment for federal income taxes or other financial obligations. Victims were told that they would face arrest, prosecutions and other legal ramifications if they did not pay.
Owen and Corrigan were able to monitor the straw back accounts to ensure that the victims made their deposits. Then, the account owners made swift withdrawals. Straw account owners were provided with the victims’ names, locations and deposit amounts to ensure the withdrawals were successful. The straw account owners were instructed to withdraw the funds and hand them over. They often received a payment for their involvement in the scheme.
To carry out the telemarketing fraud scheme, Owen recruited an individual to run a business and open bank accounts in the names of a business for the purpose of depositing the proceeds of a sweepstakes fraud. The conspirators called elderly victims and falsely claimed to be with Publisher’s Clearinghouse lottery. Victims were told that they had won millions.
Then, victims were asked to provide financial information and to send large cashier’s checks to the Florida company. The money was later laundered. Again, both men had pleaded guilty to their respective charges. Additional details can be found here.