HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Bristol woman pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court on Monday, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to her involvement in an IRS impersonation scam impacting more than 500 people in the U.S. and Canada.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2015, 51 year-old Nancy Frye 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 Douglas 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 working at her direction, received approximately $583,000 in wired funds from approximately 527 victims. Frye and Martin were arrested on September 15, 2016. Frye is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on September 20, 2017, at which time Frye faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Martin, 52, of Bristol, pleaded guilty to the same charge on May 18, 2017, and awaits sentencing.
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.
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.