Bristol man faces 41 months behind bars for IRS scam

A Bristol man faces 41 months behind bars for taking part in an IRS impersonation scam that defrauded more than 500 victims in the U.S. and Canada.

According to a press release from the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, 53-year-old Douglas Martin was sentenced last week to a federal prison for Jan. 4, 2018.

According to court documents and statements made in court in October 2015, Nancy 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 money into specific bank accounts, the release said. In turn, Frye recruited Martin and others to assist her in picking up wired funds from locations in central Connecticut, the release said. Frye then deposited the money that she collected into bank accounts, the release said.

Between October 2015 and May 2016, Frye and others received $588,000 in wired funds from 547 victims, the release said. Martin, who was released on a $25,000 bond, took part in the scheme from January 2016 to May 2016, the release said. He was ordered to pay $279,881.23 in restitution, the release said.

Both Frye and Martin were arrested on Sept. 15, 2016. On May 18, 2017, Martin pleased guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, and pleaded guilty a month later.

Martin’s criminal history includes more than 40 state convictions, the release said.

Since October 2014, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of more than 1.9 million impersonation-related calls with more than 10,400 victims of reporting losses of over $56 million, the release said.

Individuals who participate in an IRS impersonation scam falsely represent themselves as IRS employees to obtain money from victims. The scams typically come in the form of unsolicited phone calls in which the impersonator tells the victim that he or she has an outstanding debt with the IRS that must be paid immediately. The impersonator then threatens the victim with either an arrest or a lawsuit if the bogus IRS debt is not immediately settled. Victims are told to wire money to people they believe are IRS employees in order to avoid the threatened action.