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U.S. Charges 61 People, Groups in Alleged IRS, Immigration Scheme

2 Nov

U.S. officials have charged 61 people and groups in connection with an alleged international scheme in which people impersonating IRS and U.S. immigration officials extracted more than $300 million from their victims.

Earlier this month, a grand jury in Texas indicted 24 people in eight states in the U.S., 32 individuals abroad and five call-center groups, according to the Justice Department. The government is unsealing and announcing the indictments Thursday.

The impersonators allegedly threatened people with arrest or deportation if they didn’t pay immediately, and more than 15,000 people fell for it, according to the Justice Department. The Internal Revenue Service and its inspector general have been trying to warn taxpayers that the tax agency doesn’t make the first contact with taxpayers by telephone. The IRS also doesn’t ask for prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, nor does the IRS collect credit card and bank account information over the phone.

According to the Justice Department, the people indicted used call centers in India and then had money transferred to the U.S. The Justice Department’s announcement follows the arrests of 70 people earlier this month in India.