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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 15, 2021

Former New Port Richey Resident Sentenced To More Than Five Years In Connection With Consumer Fraud Schemes

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington has sentenced Lori Owen, a/k/a Lori Corrigan (50, Holiday), to five years and three months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank, wire, and mail fraud. As part of her sentence, the Court also ordered restitution to the identified victims in the amount of $620,103, and entered a money judgment of $265,964, representing the proceeds of the fraud.

Owen had pleaded guilty on April 19, 2021.

According to court documents, Owen was charged in December 2019 for her involvement in a telemarketing scam—primarily tax impersonation fraud—that operated from approximately December 2014 through the end of 2016, and which defrauded more than $1.38 million from victims around the United States. The conspirators, some of whom were located overseas, extorted money from victims by falsely representing to the victims that they had financial obligations to the Internal Revenue Service, Canadian tax authorities, or other entities. The conspirators then threatened the victims with arrest, prosecution, or other legal consequences for their purported debts and demanded that they pay the conspirators the “owed” money.

Owen worked with others—including her ex-husband, David Owen, and her son, Andrew Corrigan—to collect the fraud proceeds on behalf of the overseas call centers. They collected the proceeds in a variety of ways, including: opening bank accounts into which victims made cash deposits; receiving wire transfers directly from the conspirators; processing prepaid debit cards that the victims purchased through merchant accounts that Lori Owen opened and controlled; and receiving cashier’s checks purchased by the victims. The conspirators monitored the victims’ payments to ensure that the payments were recovered quickly, before any victim or law enforcement officer could become aware of the fraud and attempt to stop the transaction.

David Owen and Andrew Corrigan were previously charged and convicted of similar offenses for their roles in this scheme. Owen was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison and Corrigan was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

“Impersonating the IRS, the Canadian Revenue Agency, or any other financial institutions to attempt to fraudulently collect a debt is deplorable because it shakes the confidence taxpayers have in these institutions,” said Brian Payne, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge. “The lengthy sentencings of all the defendants in this investigation reflect the seriousness of the charges and should stand as a clear warning of the consequences that await those engaged in these scams.”

The cases were investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the Largo Police Department, the Gulfport Police Department, the Toronto Police Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as part of the Middle District of Florida’s Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force. The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rachel Jones, Kelley Howard-Allen, Frank Murray, and David Chee.

Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. Together with our federal, state, local and tribal partners, the Department of Justice is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Tax
Component(s): 
Updated July 15, 2021