Telemarketers have made many Californians wary of answering their telephones. Considering the telephone scam that was recently shut down by federal prosecutors, it's easy to understand that sentiment. An indictment against three men alleges that they ran a call center overseas for the purpose of posing as the Internal Revenue Service or a payday loan company. The U.S. attorney handling the case said that the men collected $2.3 million while committing their alleged crimes and that they should forfeit property of equal value.
Investigators claim that the men masked the overseas origin of their calls with domestic telephone numbers. The callers told victims that they were either collecting back taxes or offering payday loans for a "worthiness fee." These activities allegedly went on from August 2014 to June 2016.
Federal prosecutors have charged the three men with wire fraud and extortion. Two of them received additional charges for illegal monetary transactions and aggravated identity theft. Convictions could produce maximum sentences of 20 years in prison.
When federal investigators begin pressing charges, an attorney familiar with federal crimes could help protect the defendant's rights. Legal counsel could provide advice before the defendant answers questions from investigators. If charges are pressed, an attorney could offer an opinion about the strength of the evidence. Because federal charges often require harsh penalties, the advocacy of an attorney might lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges if the evidence is unclear. With legal guidance, a person could form a defense strategy for trial or negotiate a plea deal with a lenient sentence.