John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Douglas S. Martin, 53, of Bristol, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 41 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in an IRS impersonation scam that defrauded more than 500 victims in the United States and Canada.
An IRS impersonation scam is operated by individuals who falsely represent themselves as employees of the IRS to obtain money from victims. Typically, those executing the fraudulent scheme make unsolicited telephone calls to people and tell them that they are IRS agents or officers calling on behalf of the IRS. During the calls, the impersonator tells the call recipient that the recipient has an outstanding debt with the IRS that must be paid immediately.
The impersonator then threatens persons with either arrest or a lawsuit if they do not immediately settle the bogus IRS debt. Victims are instructed to wire money to individuals they believe are employees of the IRS in order to avoid the threatened action.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2015, Nancy J. Frye, of Bristol, received phone calls and text messages from individuals who successfully recruited her to pick up money that was wired through MoneyGram and Western Union and to deposit the money into specific bank accounts.
Frye, in turn, recruited Martin and others to assist her in picking up wired funds from locations in central Connecticut. Frye then deposited the money that she collected into the bank accounts.
Between October 2015 and May 2016, Frye and others received approximately $588,000 in wired funds from approximately 547 victims. Martin participated in the scheme from approximately January 2016 to May 2016.
Judge Bryant ordered Martin to pay restitution in the amount of $279,881.13.
Frye and Martin were arrested on September 15, 2016. On May 18, 2017, Martin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Frye, who pleaded guilty to the same charge on June 12, awaits sentencing.
Martin’s criminal history includes more than 40 state convictions.
Judge Bryant ordered Martin, who is released on a $25,000 bond, to report to prison on January 4, 2018.
Since October 2013, TIGTA has received reports of more than 1.9 million impersonation related calls with more than 10,400 victims reporting losses of over $56 million.
This matter is being investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The U.S. Attorney gratefully acknowledges the assistance provided by the Rocky Hill Police Department, Bristol Police Department, and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.
U.S. Attorney Durham stated that the investigation is ongoing and encouraged individuals who receive impersonation calls, including those who have been victimized by this scheme, to report the information at this link.