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Press Release

St. Petersburg Man Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering Conspiracy Relating To IRS Impersonation Scams

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Alejandro Juarez (33, St. Petersburg) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Juarez faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Pursuant to his plea agreement, Juarez has agreed to pay restitution to the victims of the conspiracy in the amount of $143,383.51, and has consented to a forfeiture money judgment in the same amount.

According to the plea agreement, from July 2015 through at least September 2015, Juarez laundered money that had been extorted from U.S. residents by conspirators residing in the United States and overseas. As part of the scheme, conspirators based in India impersonated IRS officers and misled multiple victims to believe that they owed money to the IRS and would be arrested and fined if they did not immediately pay their alleged back taxes. Juarez received payments directly from victims, typically via interstate wire transfers, and then provided the funds to his co-conspirators. Juarez was compensated for conducting the transactions.

On October 11, 2018, three co-conspirators, Nishitkumar Patel, Hemalkumar Shah, and Sharvil Patel, were charged in a related case with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and extortion, and with individual counts alleging wire fraud, extortion, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft for their roles in this scheme. Their trials are scheduled to begin in April 2019.

This case was investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachel K. Jones.

Updated December 14, 2018

Financial Fraud