Palm Harbor Man Accused in IRS Scam
He is accused of conspiring with India-based call centers to extort money by impersonating IRS agents and misleading U.S. taxpayers into thinking they owed money to the IRS, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
TAMPA – A federal jury has indicted a Palm Harbor man in connection with a scam to collect money by impersonating an IRS agent and leading taxpayers to believe they owed tax money, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said.
Glenn Francis, 58, of Palm Harbor, was charged in an 11-count indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and with substantive counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.
Francis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count of wire and mail fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and mail fraud. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison for each of the three money laundering charges. The indictment also notifies the defendant that the U.S. is seeking a money judgment for at least $313,370.03, an amount equal to the proceeds of the crimes charged.
According to the indictment, from at least 2016 through January 2019, Francis conspired with India-based call centers to extort money from U.S. residents by impersonating IRS officers and misleading U.S. residents to believe that they owed money to the IRS and that they would be arrested and fined if they did not pay their alleged back taxes immediately; impersonating loan officers and misleading U.S. residents to believe that they would receive loan proceeds upon paying an advance fee to the defendant or others he hired; or impersonating computer technicians and misleading U.S. residents to believe that their computers had been hacked, their identities had been stolen, and/or their computers were infected with viruses and in need of repair, and that the callers would resolve the purported computer problems if paid to do so.
The indictment alleges that the defendant collected the fraud proceeds by withdrawing them from bank accounts he or others he hired (runners) controlled; retrieving the proceeds from money services businesses; and depositing checks and cash equivalents into bank accounts he or his runners controlled. In order to collect the fraud proceeds, the runners were provided with the victims’ names, locations, and amount paid. Runners were then directed to retrieve the fraud proceeds in cash, and turn them over, often less a payment to the runner for opening the account or conducting the transaction.
On Jan. 11, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Francis’s home. Among other items, they seized business and financial records, money transfer receipts, and two electronic devices.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Department of Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
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