FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact ELIZABETH MORSE
www.justice.gov/usao/md at (410) 209-4885
Baltimore, Maryland – On January 5, 2018, United States District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Eugenio Labra, age 33, of Miami, Florida to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in a nationwide scheme to steal nearly $9 million from individuals nationwide by impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and other confidence scams. Judge Russell also ordered Labra to pay restitution in the amount of $28,671.32.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Lappin of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to the plea agreement, from August 2015 until November 2015, Labra and his co-conspirators engaged in various fraud schemes, including a scheme in which they purported to be employees of the IRS and would call and threaten victims with legal action, arrest, and imprisonment for a supposed debt owed to the IRS. The callers made these threats and used other methods of intimidation to persuade the victims to wire money through MoneyGram and other money transmitters.
On November 17, 2015, the Maryland State Police (MSP) stopped Labra as part of a routine traffic stop. After a canine alerted positive for the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, MSP searched the vehicle and recovered two fake Florida driver's licenses in the names of Lavern Torres Baldi and Jack Torres, and two fake social security cards in the names of Jack Torres and Johnny Lopez. Investigators later determined that Labra used these identities, as well as his own identity, to collect from MoneyGram over $550,000 of the proceeds from his co-conspirators’ fraud. He then deposited the stolen money into bank accounts to help launder it.
In addition to Maryland, investigators located wire transfer collections as part of the scheme in the following states: Florida, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. Labra pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering in connection with his activities.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning praised HSI Baltimore and IRS- CI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dana J. Brusca and Jefferson M. Gray, who prosecuted the case.