Former New Port Richey Resident Sentenced To More Than Ten Years In Connection With Consumer Fraud Schemes
Tampa, FL –U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced David Owen (40, Largo) to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison for conspiring to commit extortion, money laundering, and mail fraud, in connection with several consumer fraud schemes. As part of his sentence, the Court also ordered restitution to the victims in the amount of $697,500, and entered a money judgment in the amount of $1,185,652, representing the proceeds of the fraud.
According to court documents, Owen, who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on January 30, 2018, and a co-conspirator, Andrew Corrigan, used straw account owners to open bank accounts into which they deposited money from victims of their tax impersonation scheme. The conspirators extorted money from victims by falsely representing that the victims had financial obligations to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Canadian tax authorities, or other entities. They 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.
The conspirators monitored the victims’ deposits online in order to ensure that the straw owners of the accounts (who were controlled by the conspirators) made timely withdrawals. The conspirators provided the straw account owners with the victims’ names, locations, and amounts of deposits. The conspirators then directed the straw account owners to withdraw the funds in cash, and turn it over to them (often less a payment to the straw account owner for opening the account or conducting the transaction) victims were also directed to pay via money transfers and prepaid debit cards, which were also collected and deposited by the defendants. Owen and Corrigan collected more than $850,000 from their victims.
For his role in this scheme, Corrigan was sentenced to 10 years in prison on January 30, 2018.
Owen also devised another telemarketing fraud scheme, which primarily targeted elderly victims. Callers located outside of the United States contacted at least three elderly victims and falsely represented to those victims that they had won millions of dollars in the Publisher’s Clearing House lottery. The callers then induced the victims to provide financial information and mail large cashier’s checks to a straw business (Edgewater Elite) in Florida, set up by Owen, to pay “advance” taxes on the alleged winnings, or for some other related purpose. Once the victims’ funds were deposited into the Edgewater Elite bank accounts, they were quickly disbursed by the straw business owner, at the direction of Owen. Over $315,000 was collected from the three elderly victims.
"This sentence today represents a victory not just for the IRS, but for the many hard-working Americans who have received an intimidating phone call from the perpetrators of this despicable scam," stated Acting Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui of IRS Criminal Investigation. "We remind taxpayers that the IRS does not initiate contact by phone and we will never call with threats to arrest you. Education is your best defense, so we invite everyone to spread the word to be on the watch for phone calls from IRS impersonators."
This case was 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 County Sheriff’s Office, the Largo Police Department, the Gulfport Police Department, the Toronto Police Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelley Howard-Allen and Rachel Jones.