Florida Man Guilty in Transnational East Texas Call Center Fraud Scheme
Scheme Targeted Over 2000 Victims and Involved Approximately $3.2 Million
TYLER, Texas – A Pensacola, Florida man has pleaded guilty to federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today.
Perry Lewis Crenshaw, Jr., 27, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love. Crenshaw is the fifth indicted defendant to plead guilty in this case.
“Moving money on behalf of scammers helps facilitate the underlying criminal fraud, and ultimately contributes to the victimization of the public. Those that help launder the ill-gotten gains of these fraud schemes are subject to significant criminal penalties,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “The public needs to know that we will pursue not only the thief directly responsible for the fraud, but also the enablers who help these scammers profit from their predatory behavior.”
“Investigating scammers is a top priority for IRS Criminal Investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne. “Mr. Crenshaw preyed on vulnerable elderly Americans by impersonating the IRS. We found him, and now he and his co-conspirators will be held accountable for their heinous crimes.”
“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) aggressively investigates allegations of individuals who misrepresent themselves as Internal Revenue Service employees to cheat taxpayers,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners in this effort.”
“This investigation represents our continuing resolve to address instances of fraud involving HUD programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael V. Powell, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Region V. “It is our continuing core mission to work with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of our programs and take strong action against those who seek to circumvent the laws meant to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”
According to information presented in court, in 2015, Crenshaw was contacted by a co-conspirator about partnering in a business venture. As part of the venture, Crenshaw was asked to pick up money from call center sales at money services businesses in the Pensacola area. Crenshaw picked up approximately $40,000 from money services businesses and deposited the funds into a designated bank account. Crenshaw was also directed to create a business called “Network Florida LLC” in June 2015. Crenshaw opened bank accounts in the name of the business and recruited approximately 20-25 individuals as employees of the business. The job responsibilities for these individuals consisted of merely picking up cash or money orders at money services businesses and depositing the funds into the Network Florida bank accounts. Crenshaw was paid 10 percent of the funds collected in this manner. From June 2015 to October 2016, approximately $1,284,649 in fraudulent proceeds was deposited into the Network Florida bank accounts. From February 2016 to July 2016, Crenshaw transferred approximately $266,106 in fraudulent proceeds from the Network Florida bank accounts to a foreign bank account. Crenshaw later admitted that it became apparent the conspiracy was engaging in fraudulent activity and the purpose of the scheme was to conceal and disguise the nature of the fraudulent proceeds generated by the scheme.
Codefendants, Jeremy Christopher Jones, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in June of this year and Ronnie Duane Booth, Mary Elizabeth Beaman Booth, and Tracey Brookshier, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitting business in August.
As part of his plea agreement, Crenshaw has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $1,284,649 and forfeiture of $32,112.50. Crenshaw faces up to 20 years in federal prison. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.
This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), U.S. Secret Service, and Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Alan Jackson.
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