Recruiting for Fraud
Most of the time, fraudsters can’t complete a scam without the help of co-conspirators. An article posted on MassLive.com tells about a criminal who assisted with recruiting couriers to help carry out a scam that laundered $110,000 worth of Social Security benefits and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax refunds.
The story states that the criminal and his partner directed couriers to open bank accounts in Massachusetts in the names of bogus companies. For about a year, illegally gained Social Security payments and IRS tax refunds were deposited into the accounts. The two ringleaders instructed the couriers to withdraw cash from the accounts. (That’s one way to conceal the illegal activities linking the ringleaders to the crime – have someone else do the dirty work.)
An investigation revealed that the identities of 14 victims were used to obtain more than $11,000 in Social Security payments, while another 20 victims were targets of more than $98,000 in IRS payments. (A search of the criminal’s home uncovered a list with 375 names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and a debit card linked to one of the false bank accounts.)
The 22-year-old fraudster pleaded guilty to theft of government money and was ordered to pay more than $110,000 in restitution to the federal government. He will serve one year and one day in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Five other co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty in connection with this scheme. (One of the couriers was the criminal’s sister.) This case can serve as a lesson to anyone who thinks getting involved in fraud is a good idea. If you are recruited to participate in an opportunity that sounds too good to be true, just say “no.”
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