Peruvian National Sentenced to Over 9 Years in Prison for Defrauding Thousands of Spanish-Speaking U.S. Immigrants
A Peruvian national was sentenced to serve 110 months in prison for operating a series of call centers in Peru that defrauded Spanish-speaking U.S. residents by falsely threatening them with arrest, deportation and other legal consequences.
Henrry Adrian Milla Campuzano, 37, from Lima, Peru, pleaded guilty for his role in conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud through two Peruvian call centers that he owned and operated. The defendant, along with his co-conspirators, used false statements and threats to obtain money from Spanish-speaking individuals across the United States by falsely telling victims that they were required to accept and pay for English-language courses and other educational products and that failure to do so placed them in legal jeopardy. The defendant and his co-conspirators falsely threatened to have their victims arrested and deported in order to collect millions of dollars from victims in South Florida and across the United States. With today’s sentencing in Miami, five defendants have been sentenced to serve substantial terms of incarceration in this matter.
“The Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch will pursue and prosecute transnational criminals who defraud vulnerable U.S. consumers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department's Civil Division. “The defendants in this case defrauded immigrants by falsely promising free products to improve their English. In reality, the defendants were luring their victims into a trap of intimidation and fear, leaving them far worse off – with substantial financial losses and, often, emotional scars from these crimes. With today’s sentence, five defendants in this case have been brought to justice, demonstrating that those who prey upon U.S. consumers from abroad cannot do so with impunity.”
“This case demonstrates that the long arm of justice has no limits when it comes to reaching fraudsters who prey on our nation’s most vulnerable populations,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida. “We will continue to bring American justice to transnational criminals who use fear tactics and intimidation to steal money from immigrants, seniors and others who live in this country.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service constantly strives to protect our communities from predatory criminals seeking to abuse and exploit the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Inspector in Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Miami Division. “This particular case is an example of how postal inspectors will vigorously pursue these types of crime and ensure that the perpetrators will be brought to justice to pay for the crimes they have committed.”
In pleading guilty, Milla admitted that he and his employees falsely claimed to be lawyers, court officials, federal agents and representatives of a so-called “minor crimes court,” which does not exist. The callers falsely threatened victims with court proceedings, negative marks on their credit reports, imprisonment and immigration consequences if they did not immediately pay for the purportedly delivered products and settlement fees.
Milla was the co-owner of the Latinos en Accion and Accion Latino call centers in Lima, Peru. From April 2011 until his arrest in July 2019, he and his co-conspirators called victims, as well as victims’ family members and friends, and fraudulently threatened them with legal consequences if they did not make payments for the purportedly delivered products and settlement fees for English language classes.
Milla was arrested in January 2020 by Peruvian authorities based on a U.S. extradition request. He and four co-defendants were extradited to the Southern District of Florida in October 2020. Those five defendants have now all pleaded guilty and received significant prison sentences from U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. In addition to Milla, Jerson Renteria was sentenced to 100 months in prison, and Fernan Huerta, Omar Cuzcano and Evelyng Milla were each sentenced to serve 90 months in prison.
Two additional defendants in the case – Carlos Espinoza Huerta and Josmell Espinoza Huerta – evaded arrest at the time of their co-defendants’ arrests. They were subsequently located in Peru and extradited to the United States on June 25, and are being detained at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. Their trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 14, 2022, before Judge Scola.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch investigated the case. Senior Trial Attorney Phil Toomajian and Trial Attorney Max Goldman of the Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case. The Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Peruvian National Police provided critical assistance.
The Consumer Protection Branch coordinates the Department’s Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, working with United States Attorney’s Offices and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute scams run by transnational criminal organizations, including mass mailing, telemarketing and tech support scams. For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch, visit its website at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Note: A Spanish version of this press release is available here.