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March 31, 2023

Man Sentenced to Prison for an Internal Revenue Service Impersonation Scam

On February 6, 2023, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Michael Galanis was sentenced to prison for his role in routing calls to individuals impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees and extorting money from victims within the United States.  

According to the court documents, from March 2016 continuing until August 2017, Galanis conspired with others to activate Subscriber Identity Module cards and program prepaid cell phones to automatically forward calls to Voice over Internal Protocol (VoIP) phone numbers. These calls were routed to IRS impersonators who left voicemails instructing victims to contact the IRS at specific phone numbers. When victims called these numbers, their calls were automatically forwarded to the VoIP phone numbers then routed to the IRS impersonators. During these calls, victims were told they owed money to the IRS and directed to wire money or purchase iTunes and retail store gift cards to pay the alleged tax debts. Galanis and his coconspirators defrauded victims of approximately $89,000.  

Galanis was sentenced to 12 months of imprisonment followed by two years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution, a fine of $1,000, and a special assessment of $100.

Source:  The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: W.D. Pa., Indict., Jan. 16, 2020; and W.D. Pa, Sentencing, Feb. 6, 2023.