Fake debt collectors target Spanish speaking victims with threats, get years in prison
Juan Alejandro Rodriguez Cuya ran 2 calling centers in Peru
MIAMI – After Spanish speaking undocumented victims in the United States were threatened with deportation, Angeluz Florida Corporation employees would tell them money could make their problem go away.
Other threats included detention, negative marks on their credit reports, confiscation of property, costly litigation and community service requirements, for which they would need to take time off of work.
All of this could be avoided with a settlement of several hundred dollars. Thousands of victims succumbed to the threats and paid the fees in a scheme that a mother and son were running from Miami and Lima, Peru.
"The victims of this case tell horrible stories of false threats made against them," said Joyce R. Branda, acting assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice's civil division.
Juan Alejandro Rodriguez Cuya oversaw the firm's two Internet-based call rooms in Lima. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz in Miami sentenced him to more than 17 years in prison.
On Oct. 17, 2014, a jury found the 35-year-old guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, seventeen counts of mail fraud, nineteen counts of wire fraud, and four counts of attempted extortion.
Seitz sentenced Cuya's mother, Maria Luzula, to more than 13 years in prison, Dec. 22, 2014, after she was charged June 10, 2014 with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, seventeen counts of mail fraud, nineteen counts of wire fraud, and four counts of attempted extortion in relation to their work with corporations Angeluz Florida Corporation and Angeluz Miami.
- TIPS TO AVOID SCAM
- During conversations, watch for threats of arrest or prosecution, or claims of being law enforcement or a government agency
- In written correspondence, watch for strong allegation language such as "Collateral Check Fraud" and "Theft by Deception."
- Do not comply with requests for money owed to be paid via prepaid card or money transfer or requests for personally identifiable information
- Ask for a "validation notice" to be mailed and ask the collector for his or her name, company, address, and phone number
- Do not give out any personal information
- Do not ignore a court order and consider consulting with an attorney.
- Verify that the debt collector is licensed
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