A Peruvian national has been sentenced to 110 months in prison for operating a series of call centers in Peru that defrauded Spanish-speaking American residents by falsely threatening them with arrest, deportation and other legal consequences.
Henry Adrian Milla Campuzano, 37, of Lima, Peru, pleaded guilty for his role in the conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud through two Peruvian call centers he owned and was exploiting. The accused, along with his accomplices, used false statements and threats to obtain money from Spanish speaking individuals 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 accused and his co-conspirators falsely threatened to arrest and deport their victims in order to raise millions of dollars from victims in South Florida and the United States. With today’s conviction in Miami, five defendants were sentenced to substantial prison terms in this case.
“The consumer protection arm of the Department of Justice will 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. âThe defendants in this case defrauded immigrants by falsely promising free products to improve their English. In reality, the defendants lured their victims into a trap of intimidation and fear, leaving them in a much worse situation – with substantial financial losses and, often, emotional scars from these crimes. With today’s conviction, five defendants in this case have been brought to justice, demonstrating that those who prey on American consumers overseas cannot do so with impunity.
“This case shows that the long arm of justice has no limits when it comes to reaching 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 who live in this country. ”
“The United States Postal Inspection Service constantly strives to protect our communities from predatory criminals who seek to abuse and exploit the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Chief Inspector Joseph W. Cronin of the Miami Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. “This particular case is an example of how postal inspectors will vigorously prosecute these types of crimes and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice to pay for the crimes they have committed.”
Pleading guilty, Milla admitted that he and his 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.
Milla was co-owner of the Latino call centers in Accion and Accion Latino in Lima, Peru. From April 2011 until his arrest in July 2019, he and his co-conspirators called the victims, as well as family members and friends of the victims, and fraudulently threatened them with legal consequences if they did not pay. not the allegedly delivered products and settlement costs. for English lessons.
Milla was arrested in January 2020 by Peruvian authorities on the basis of a US extradition request. He and four co-defendants were extradited to the Southern District of Florida in October 2020. These five defendants have now all pleaded guilty and received substantial prison terms from U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. In addition to Milla, Jerson Renteria was sentenced to 100 months in prison, and Fernan Huerta, Omar Cuzcano and Evelyng Milla were each sentenced to 90 months in prison.
Two other defendants in this case – Carlos Espinoza Huerta and Josmell Espinoza Huerta – escaped arrest when their co-defendants were arrested. They were then located in Peru and extradited to the United States on June 25, and are being held at the Miami Federal Detention Center. Their trial is due to begin on February 14, 2022, before Judge Scola.
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.
The Consumer Protection Branch coordinates the Department’s Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, working with the United States Attorney’s offices and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute scams carried out by transnational criminal organizations, including including mass mail scams, telemarketing and technical support. For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch, visit their website at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.
An indictment is only an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
To note: A Spanish version of this press release is available here.