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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Davie Woman Convicted of Participating in an IRS Impersonation Scam

A Davie woman was convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in federal court on Tuesday.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Gary L. Smith, Special Agent in Charge, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), made the announcement.

Amy E. Ahrens, 38, was found guilty after a two-day trial of seven counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and one count of  conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, for her role in an IRS impersonation scam.  At sentencing, the defendant faces up to twenty years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, up to five years of supervised release, and restitution as to each count.  The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas on September 12, 2018 at 1:15 P.M. in Fort Lauderdale.

            According to evidence presented at trial, an IRS impersonation scam is operated by individuals who falsely represent themselves as employees of the IRS to obtain money from victims. Typically, those executing the fraudulent scheme make unsolicited telephone calls to people and tell them that they are IRS agents or officers calling on behalf of the IRS.  During these calls, the call recipient is told that they have an outstanding IRS debt that must be paid immediately.  The impersonator further threatens the call recipient with either arrest, seizure of property or a lawsuit if they do not immediately settle the bogus IRS debt.  Victims are subsequently instructed to wire money to individuals they believe are IRS employees to avoid arrest, property seizure or a lawsuit.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Ahrens used her Bank of America and Wells Fargo accounts to receive money from victims of the scam.  The trial testimony revealed that five victims received telephone calls purported to be from the IRS.  The victims were threatened with arrest or having their assets seized if they did not pay a fictitious IRS tax debt.  The callers made these threats and used other methods of intimidation to persuade the victims to make large cash deposits in the Ahrens’ bank accounts. 

The evidence at trial further showed that between November 3, 2017 and November 8, 2017, Ahrens received seven cash deposits in her bank accounts totaling $47,366.  The trial evidence and testimony established that Ahrens withdrew $46,950 in cash and used a portion of the money for a vacation in Las Vegas.

            Since October 2013, TIGTA has received reports of more than 2.3 million impersonation related calls with more than 13,500 victims reporting losses of over $67 million. 

Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of TIGTA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurence J. Bardfeld.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated July 5, 2018