Those threatening scam IRS phone calls? Somebody’s going to jail for them
A Davie woman was convicted last week for her part in an IRS phone call scam, a popular con game over the past few years that tries to sucker people into sending money to scammers.
Amy Ahrens wasn’t the phone voice that claims to be from the IRS and threatening the person being called with arrest if they don’t immediately pay an imaginary four-figure back taxes bill. Ahrens, 38, played the role of money mule. She was two bank accounts.
What Ahrens did with those two bank accounts earned her convictions on seven counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She will learn how much time she’ll lose to prison and money she’ll lose to restitution at her sentencing Sept. 12. Fear, whether out of ignorance, naivete or paranoia, forms the foundation of the IRS phone call scam.
The first act usually comes with a robocall leaving a message saying you need to call the IRS at the number given about your tax debt. Don’t ignore the message, the robocall voice says, or you’ll be taken into custody.
Act No. 2 starts when you call the phone number given. The person answering says they’re from the IRS and tells you to pay your debt soon, whether wholly or in large part. You need to deposit that payment in a bank account. Or, buy gift cards and give the numbers to the “IRS enforcement employee” on the other end of the line.
In Act 3, someone like Ahrens takes the money out of the bank account, usually skims some for herself and moves it to the scammers.
To take just one case described in the criminal complaint against Ahrens, a faux IRS investigator “Kriss Ford” told California resident P.C. that she owed $6,412.39 in taxes and would be arrested if she didn’t come across with the cash. Ford gave P.C. a Bank of America account number ending in 9381. P.C. deposited $6,400 on Nov. 7 in that account — an account belonging to Ahrens.
Another target, O.H., was told she filled out the wrong tax form so she immediately needed to pay the $3,000 in back taxes. She bought three $1,000 gift cards at Target and gave the security numbers to the fake IRS agent. The fake agent said O.H. owed another $5,900 in legal fees. O.H. transferred $5,900 into the aforementioned Bank of America account ending in 9381.
Trial evidence showed in six November days, Ahrens accounts received $47,366. Ahrens used some of the money for a Las Vegas vacation.
By David J. Neal
July 10, 2018
Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article214551905.html#storylink=cpy