California Resident Charged with Leading Telemarketing Conspiracy to Defraud and Extort U.S. Consumers
On Oct. 8, 2019, Angel Armando Adrianzen, 45, of California was indicted by a Miami, Florida grand jury on fraud and extortion charges for engaging with call centers in Peru that took money from U.S. Spanish-speaking victims through lies and threats. Adrianzen was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, and four counts of extortion.
Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan, and Acting Miami Division Postal Inspector in Charge Lesley C. Allison announced the return of the indictment.
The indictment alleges that Adrianzen partnered with a series of Peruvian call centers that contacted U.S. consumers, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, using Internet-based telephone calls. According to the indictment, these callers claimed to be attorneys and government representatives, and falsely told victims that they had failed to pay for or receive delivery of products. The callers also falsely threatened victims with court proceedings, negative marks on their credit reports, imprisonment, or immigration consequences if they did not immediately pay for the purportedly delivered products and settlement fees. Many victims made monetary payments based on these baseless threats. According to the indictment, Adrianzen received the victims’ payments and shipped products to the victims for these call centers, knowing that they used fraudulent and extortionate means to extract money from vulnerable victims.
Adrianzen was originally charged by criminal complaint and was arrested on Sept. 16 in California. He was ordered detained pending trial and is expected to arrive in Miami to face the charges against him next week.
“The Department of Justice is committed to identifying and prosecuting foreign-based fraud schemes that target and extort U.S. consumers,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice's Civil Division. “The Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch will continue to work hand-in-hand with our Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force partners to bring to justice international fraudsters who prey on vulnerable U.S. consumers.”
“The charges in this case seek to protect vulnerable and elderly victims of an international fraudulent scheme. Individuals who defraud American consumers will be brought to justice, no matter where they are located,” said U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida.
“The defendant in this case used the U.S. Mail in furtherance of a criminal enterprise and Postal Inspectors were able to quickly identify the scheme and worked aggressively with the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch to ultimately bring him to justice,” said Lesley C. Allison, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Miami Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Trial Attorneys Phil Toomajian and Joshua Rothman of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida has provided critical assistance.
The charges in the indictment are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Since President Trump signed the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law, the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors. In particular, this past March the Department announced the largest elder fraud enforcement action in American history, charging more than 260 defendants in a nationwide elder fraud sweep. The Department has likewise conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country since the passage of the Act. Today’s action was developed as part of the efforts of the Department’s Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, which the Attorney General established in June to combat the threat of foreign fraud schemes targeting American seniors.