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US Starts Action Over IRS Impersonation Scams

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

31 October 2016

The individuals behind the Internal Revenue Service impersonation and telefraud schemes will be brought to justice, US Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell and Russell George, the Inspector General for the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, said on October 27.

They made their pledge during an announcement of the first-ever multi-jurisdiction enforcement action targeting the India call center scam industry. An indictment brought in the Southern District of Texas charges 61 entities and individuals, including five call center groups located primarily in the United States and India, with an international fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

The transnational criminal ring targeted victims in the United States, impersonating IRS, immigration, police, and other government officials, and demanding immediate payments from more than 15,000 victims (mainly vulnerable victims such as immigrants and the elderly) to avoid deportation, arrest warrants, or to cover allegedly unpaid income taxes. In the process, these criminals took in hundreds of millions of US dollars in criminal proceeds.

Despite what TIGTA called "the largest single domestic law enforcement action to date involving this scam," George added that "it is very important to note that these arrests and indictments are just the start of the legal process. We are still actively conducting other investigations, and we hope to bring more cases in the future."

However, he stressed that "members of the public must not let their guard down. We are concerned that scam and impersonation calls may continue, so it is important that if you receive a call from someone out of the blue who claims to represent the IRS or Treasury, and demands immediate payment to avoid arrest or a lawsuit, it is a scam, and the best thing to do is to just hang up the phone and report the call to us."

TAGS: individuals | money-laundering | compliance | tax | tax compliance | India | law | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | enforcement | tax authority | United States | Tax

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