New Port Richey Residents Plead Guilty To Extortion And Money Laundering Conspiracy
Tampa, FL – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that David Owen (39) and Andrew Corrigan (24), both of New Port Richey, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and extortion. Owen also pleaded guilty to a separate telemarketing mail fraud and money laundering scheme, that involved sweepstakes fraud targeting elderly victims. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of the 12 counts of conspiracy, extortion, and mail fraud. He also faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment on each of the 4 money laundering counts. Corrigan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of the money laundering and conspiracy counts.
At sentencing, the United States will seek a money judgment of at least $870,652.66, the proceeds of the money laundering and extortion conspiracies, and $315,000 in connection with the sweepstakes fraud. Owen has agreed to the administrative forfeiture of approximately $94,000, which was seized from him and were proceeds of the frauds.
According to court documents, Owen and Corrigan recruited individuals to open bank accounts (straw account owners) for the purpose of depositing money extorted from victims of tax impersonation calls, and to conceal their involvement in the fraud. The money was deposited by victims who were contacted by callers who falsely represented themselves as officials with the IRS, Canadian tax authorities, or as local law enforcement officers. The callers demanded payment for federal income taxes or other financial obligations and stated that if the victims failed to pay, they or their family members would face arrest, prosecution, or other legal consequences.
With online access provided by the straw account owners, Owen and Corrigan monitored the straw bank accounts in order to verify victims’ deposits and ensure timely withdrawals by the straw account owners. In order to make the withdrawals at the bank, Owen and Corrigan provided the straw account owners with the victims’ names, locations, and amounts of the deposits. They then directed the straw account owners to withdraw the funds in cash, and turn it over to them, often less a payment for their role in the scheme.
To facilitate the telemarketing fraud scheme, Owen recruited an individual to “operate” a business and open bank accounts in that business’s name for the purpose of depositing the proceeds of a sweepstakes fraud. Owen’s conspirators called elderly victims and falsely represented that they were with the Publisher’s Clearinghouse lottery, informing the victim that they had won the lottery for millions of dollars. The callers then induced the victims to provide financial information and to send large cashier’s checks to the Florida company, falsely claiming that advance taxes had to be paid in order to collect the full amount of the alleged lottery winnings. Owen, and others, then laundered the proceeds of this fraud scheme.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, the Largo Police Department, the Gulfport Police Department, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Toronto Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelley Howard-Allen and Rachel Jones.