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 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, a co-conspirator contacted Crenshaw about partnering in a business venture. He asked Crenshaw to pick up money from call center sales at money services businesses in the Pensacola area as part of the venture. Crenshaw picked up approximately $40,000 from money services businesses and deposited the funds into a designated bank account. He also directed Crenshaw to create a company called “Network Florida LLC” in June 2015. Crenshaw opened bank accounts in the name of the business and recruited approximately 20-25 individuals as business employees. 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 received ten percent of the funds collected in this manner. From June 2015 to October 2016, they deposited approximately $1,284,649 in fraudulent proceeds into the Network Florida bank accounts. From February 2016 to July 2016, Crenshaw transferred roughly $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. The scheme’s purpose was to conceal and disguise the nature of the fraudulent proceeds generated by the project.
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 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 court will determine the sentencing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. The court will schedule a sentencing hearing after completing 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 victim’s needs and identifying appropriate next steps. Case managers will identify relevant 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 10:00 am-6:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.
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 are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Alan Jackson is the prosecutor.