Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 26, 2003

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI Dismantles Fraud and Money Laundering Ring
Exceeding $4 Million in Five States

FBI Agents, along with U.S. Postal Inspectors and Agents from the INS, today arrested sixteen individuals in five states (Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Tennessee, and Mississippi) involved in a coupon redemption fraud and money laundering scheme that resulted in losses exceeding $4 million. Some of the proceeds of the fraud were sent to the West Bank. The FBI continues to investigate the overseas financial transactions and other aspects of the scheme.

“Dismantling fraudulent scams that can harm American corporations and consumers is key in the FBI’s efforts to fight financial crime,” said Cassandra Chandler, FBI National Spokeswoman. “This type of cooperation among law enforcement is vital in detecting and taking down these scams.”

The scheme involved over 300 stores and spanned fifteen states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Arrests, interviews, and federal search warrants of businesses and residences were conducted simultaneously today by the FBI and cooperating law enforcement partners in a number of states. This investigation was conducted over a nineteen month period.

Three of the persons arrested today are being charged in the Northern District of Mississippi, and thirteen of the individuals arrested today are being charged in a complaint filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, for their participation in a conspiracy to violate the following federal statutes: Mail Fraud; Wire Fraud; Money Laundering; Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property; and Receiving Stolen Property that Crossed State Lines

The FBI was assisted in this investigation by a number of law enforcement agencies, to include the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Social Security Administration, the Milwaukee Police Department, and other state and local agencies in a number of states.