Two Peruvian nationals responsible for operating a series of call centers in Peru who defrauded Spanish-speaking American residents by falsely threatening them with arrest, deportation and other legal consequences have pleaded guilty to federal charges in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Josmell Espinoza Huerta (Josmell Espinoza), 32, and his brother Carlos Alberto Espinoza Huerta (Carlos Espinoza), 40, both from Lima, Peru, pleaded guilty to their conspiracy to commit mail and electronic fraud through several call centers in Peru. that they owned and operated.
According to court documents, Josmell and Carlos Espinoza co-owned and operated the JFC Peru call center in Peru. In addition, Josmell Espinoza owned and operated the Camino Al Progreso and Latin Shop call centers, and Carlos Espinoza separately owned and operated the Latino call centers in Accion and Latin Force in Peru.
From April 2011 to July 2019, the Espinoza brothers and their accomplices in Peru called the victims – many of whom were recent immigrants from Central America, Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries – and fraudulently threatened them with legal action. ‘They did not make the payments for the allegedly delivered products and the settlement fees for the English language courses. The defendants and their accomplices used false statements and threats to obtain money from victims across the United States by falsely telling victims that they were required to accept and pay for English lessons and other educational products and that failure to do so placed them in legal danger. The defendants and their co-conspirators then falsely threatened to arrest and deport their victims in order to collect payments from numerous vulnerable victims in South Florida and across the United States.
By pleading guilty, both defendants admitted that they and their employees falsely claimed to be lawyers, court officials, federal agents and representatives of a so-called “minor crimes court”, which does not exist. The appellants falsely threatened the victims with legal action, negative ratings on their credit reports, imprisonment and immigration consequences if they did not immediately pay for the allegedly delivered products and settlement fees. Carlos Espinoza caused the victims to lose over $ 1.3 million and Josmell Espinoza caused the victims to lose over $ 700,000.
“The consumer protection arm of the Department of Justice will relentlessly prosecute and prosecute transnational criminals who defraud vulnerable American consumers,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice . âThose who pose as representatives of the US government and use threats to attack our immigrant communities will be brought to justice and held accountable in US courts. ”
“This case shows that the long arm of justice has no limits when it comes to reaching the fraudsters who prey on the most vulnerable populations of our country,” said Interim US Prosecutor Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida. âWe will continue to deliver American justice to transnational criminals who use fear and intimidation tactics to steal money from immigrants, the elderly and others living in this country. ”
“For many years, the United States Postal Inspection Service and its law enforcement partners have investigated and prosecuted international criminal networks targeting American consumers to steal their hard-earned money,” the Chief Inspector Joseph Cronin of the Miami Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute these criminals to ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
With Carlos Espinoza’s guilty plea in Miami today, the seven defendants indicted in this case have now pleaded guilty. Four of the defendants’ co-conspirators were arrested in July 2019, and one was arrested in January 2020. All five of these defendants were extradited to the South Florida District in October 2020 and were ordered to serve d ‘extended prison terms earlier this year. . Henrry Milla was sentenced to 110 months in prison, Jerson Renteria was sentenced to 100 months in prison, and Evelyng Milla, Fernan Huerta and Omar Cuzcano and were each sentenced to 90 months in prison.
Carlos Espinoza and Josmell Espinoza escaped arrest upon arrest of their co-defendants and were subsequently located in Peru and extradited to the United States on June 25. U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. will convict Josmell Espinoza in Miami on February 9, 2022, and convict Carlos Espinoza on February 14, 2022.
The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Consumer Protection Division of the Civil Division investigated the case. Senior Counsel Phil Toomajian and General Counsel Max Goldman of the Consumer Protection Branch are continuing the case. The Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the Peruvian National Police provided crucial help.
Information on the Department of Justice’s Aging Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice. Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its anti-fraud efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. If you or someone you know is 60 years of age or older and has been the victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Seniors Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).