Two Bristol Residents Arrested for Participating in IRS Impersonation Scam
United States Attorney Deirdre M. Daly and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Special Agent in Charge William Kalb announced that NANCY FRYE, 50, and DOUGLAS MARTIN, 52, both of Bristol, were arrested today on charges related to their alleged involvement in an IRS impersonation scam.
An IRS impersonation scam is operated by individuals who falsely represent themselves as employees of the IRS to obtain money from victims. Typically, those executing the fraudulent scheme make unsolicited telephone calls to people and tell them that they are IRS agents or officers calling on behalf of the IRS. During the calls, the impersonator tells the call recipient that the recipient has an outstanding debt with the IRS that must be paid immediately. The impersonator then threatens persons with either arrest or a lawsuit if they do not immediately settle the bogus IRS debt. Victims are instructed to wire money to individuals they believe are employees of the IRS in order to avoid the threatened action.
As alleged in court documents, in October 2015, FRYE received phone calls and text messages from individuals who successfully recruited her to pick up money that was wired through MoneyGram and Western Union and to deposit the money into specific bank accounts. FRYE, in turn, recruited MARTIN and others to assist her in picking up wired funds from locations in central Connecticut. FRYE then deposited the money that she collected into the bank accounts.
Between October 2015 and May 2016, FRYE, and others working at her direction, received approximately $547,000 in wired funds. FRYE received approximately $40 per transaction and made approximately $500 per day.
“IRS impersonation scams victimize thousands of innocent people across the country, including many here in Connecticut,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “The money generated from these scams is often very significant. Those who perpetrate these crimes frequently hide overseas and can be difficult to track down. But together with our partners from the Treasury Department and the Postal Inspection Service, we are committed to bringing those responsible to justice. This prosecution serves as another opportunity to warn everyone to avoid becoming a victim of this scam. The IRS will never call anyone and demand immediate payment or threaten arrest. If you receive one of these calls, just hang up and report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).”
“Since October 2013, American taxpayers have been subjected to unprecedented attempts to fraudulently obtain money by individuals impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees,” said TIGTA Special Agent in Charge Kalb. “TIGTA has received reports of over 1.6 million impersonation related calls with over 8,600 victims reporting losses of almost $47 million. Victimizing taxpayers by impersonating IRS employees is a serious crime. TIGTA and our law enforcement partners will do everything within our power to ensure that those involved in the impersonation of IRS employees are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
FRYE and MARTIN are each charged by federal criminal complaint with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and were released on bond. If convicted of the offenses, they face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The U.S. Attorney gratefully acknowledges the assistance provided by the Rocky Hill Police Department, Bristol Police Department, and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.
U.S. Attorney Daly stated that the investigation is ongoing and encouraged individuals who receive impersonation calls, including those who have been victimized by this scheme, to report the information at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.