Gulfport Detectives Help Bust Extortion Ring

Gulfport police filed a charge of grand theft against one suspect from New Port Richey in an extortion and money laundering scam that originated with a victim in Colorado and involved a bank in Gulfport.

Because of multi-state jurisdictions, police then contacted the FBI, said Detective Sergeant Tomas Woodman, public information officer for the Gulfport Police Department. The investigation by a combination of agencies shows that multiple victims throughout the United States and Canada are involved.

No residents of Gulfport are victims of the two suspects, said Woodman.

On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announced that David Owen, 40, and Andrew Corrigan, 24, both of New Port Richey, had plead guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and extortion. Owen also pleaded guilty to a separate telemarketing mail fraud and money-laundering scheme that targeted elderly victims.

Gulfport police filed a charge of grand theft against Corrigan who was already under arrest, said Woodman. The investigation shows that Corrigan and Owen are linked in organized crime.

Owen faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of 12 counts of conspiracy, extortion and mail fraud. He also faces up to 10 years of imprisonment on each of four money-laundering counts. Corrigan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of the money laundering and conspiracy counts, said Muldrow.

At sentencing, the United States will seek a money judgment of at least $870,652.66, the proceeds of the money laundering and extortion conspiracies, and $315,000 in connection with the sweepstakes fraud. Owen has agreed to the administrative forfeiture of approximately $94,000, which was seized from him and were proceeds of the frauds, according to law enforcement reports.

Court records detail that both suspects recruited individuals to open bank accounts for the purpose of depositing money extorted from them during IRS and Canadian tax impersonation telephone calls. The suspects also posed as local law enforcement officers. The suspects told victims if they did not pay, they or their family members would face arrest, prosecution or other legal consequences.

In addition to the Gulfport Police Department and the FBI, the following agencies are involved: U.S. Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the U.S. Postal Service, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Largo Police Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“Victims are not always in the same location as where the fraudulent criminal activity is occurring,” said Woodman.

Woodman says that people who believe they may be victims of criminal activity should call dispatch at 727-582-6177. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will document the details then dispatch an appropriate law enforcement officer to handle the complaint.

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