Recently the Dallas Morning News reported on how one of the fastest-growing telephone scams in the U.S. that has brought in more than $20 million since 2013, may have a Texas link.
Under the scam, the victim typically receives a phone call from someone who claims to be an IRS employee. The bogus agent tell the victim them they owe taxes and have to send cash loaded onto prepaid debit cards or face serious consequences such as arrest, deportation or driver’s license suspension.
According to reports the IRS impersonation telephone scam has claimed as many as 4,200 victims.
The scale of this scam makes it notable. J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, has labelled it the “largest, most pervasive impersonation scam” in his office’s history.
Based on the 90,000 complaints that have been lodged via a telephone hotline, to date, it’s estimated that victims have lost an estimated $5 million from these scams.
This month there was activity in Texas when the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Texas filed a forfeiture lawsuit to keep $155,860 seized from the bank account of one alleged scammer, court records show.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the bank account was owned jointly by a Texas cardiologist, and his father who lives in Iran, federal court records revealed.
A Bank of America fraud investigator said large deposits of money were made from “unknown sources” in multiple states.
The cardiologist said in the report that his father did not have any business in the U.S. but has transferred money here from the sale of land in Iran. No federal criminal charges had been filed as of last week.
Authorities said James Green, a California man, received a phone call in March from someone who claimed to be an IRS employee with the name of the cardiologist, reported the Dallas Morning News.
Another victim, Brian Lee Latwesen from Washington, received a similar call that same month, according to court records. Latwesen deposited money into several accounts before also becoming suspicious and calling police.
The IRS says on its website if you receive a call and you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. “The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.” If you know you don’t owe money you should call 1.800.366.4484.
These kinds of white collar crimes are complicated and often involve investigations by a number of agencies. If you are accused of a fraud crime you may be facing a heavy sentence and should hire a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in these matters.