ATHENS, Georgia – A resident of Athens, Georgia, was sentenced to federal prison and sentenced to pay redress and a fine for illegally engaging in an unlicensed money transfer business for elderly victims.
Colin Moore, 24, of Athens, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal on Thursday, July 15, followed by three years’ supervised release, $ 65,450 in compensation and a fine of 95,000 US District Judge C. Ashley Royal previously pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transfer business. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Consumers must remain vigilant when it comes to requests for money in exchange for the illusion of a grand prize,” said Acting US Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Our office will protect the consumer and prosecute those who make plans that illegally exploit the false hopes of vulnerable people.”
“This defendant has taken advantage of our elderly population, the most vulnerable to financial fraud exploitation,” said Tommy D. Coke, Atlanta Division inspector in charge. “The Postal Inspectors will continue to protect the country’s postal system and the American public from those who commit crimes against the US Postal Service for illicit financial reasons.”
“Criminals like Moore help scammers systematically target the elderly and vulnerable by offering a variety of services and pricing options,” said James E. Dorsey, IRS Special Representative for Crime Investigations. “We all have a shared responsibility to protect the elderly and vulnerable among us from people like Moore and his co-conspirators. The IRS-CI Special Agents are proud of the work we have done on this investigation and will continue our efforts to maintain the integrity of the country’s financial markets while protecting our elderly. “
According to court documents, Moore ran an unlicensed money transfer business that was not registered with either the State of Georgia or the US government. Moore has been investigated by the US Postal Inspection Service for a number of criminal offenses relating to a fraudulent competition. The investigation found that unidentified co-conspirators contacted the victims and directed the victims to send money to Moore. Moore used the victims’ money to buy money orders, buy bitcoin, and sell bitcoin to third parties, running an unlicensed money transfer business. Moore received around $ 65,450 from seven elderly victims in seven different states. The total amount unidentified co-conspirators received from the program was $ 545,050. The victims had no knowledge of Bitcoin and did not send Moore or any other third party any money for Bitcoin transactions. The IRS discovered that Moore used 14 different accounts with six different financial institutions to obtain large sums of cash and money orders from victims he used to purchase virtual currency.
If you or someone you know is 60 years or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, the National Age Fraud Hotline is available to you: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This US Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, consists of seasoned professionals who provide individual support to callers by assessing the victim’s needs and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers identify appropriate hotlines, provide callers with information to help them report, connect callers directly to the appropriate hotlines, and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help the authorities identify those who are committing fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is manned Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
The case has been investigated by the US Postal Inspection Service and the IRS.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Shanelle Booker is pursuing the case on behalf of the government.