PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in federal court on his conviction for conspiring to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.
United States District Judge Stephanie L. Haines sentenced Michael Galanis, 34, of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, to 12 months of imprisonment followed by two years of supervised release. Galanis was also ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution.
In conjunction with the guilty plea and sentencing hearing, the Court was advised that, from in or around March 2016 to in or around August 2017, Galanis participated in an IRS impersonation fraud conspiracy. The IRS impersonation fraud conspiracy involved call centers located in India that would use phone numbers to make their calls appear to originate in the United States. The calls would provide recorded information to individuals in the United States and fraudulently claim that the call was from the IRS concerning the individual’s failure to pay taxes. The call would provide a U.S.-based telephone number for the individual to call in order to resolve the matter. Calls to these U.S.-based telephone numbers would be automatically forwarded to call centers in India, and those who answered would tell callers that they owed money to the IRS and demand immediate payment via gift card or other means.
As the Court was previously advised, Galanis was involved in activating cell phones in the United States to assist in this fraud scheme. Galanis knew that the cell phones that he programmed were used for a fraud scheme. The parties agreed that the total loss in this case is between $150,000 and $250,000.
Assistant United States Attorney Karen Gal-Or prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.
The matter was investigated by United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, United States Department of Homeland Security, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Anyone with information about allegations of elder fraud can report it by calling the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 or 833–372–8311. More information about the Department’s efforts to help American seniors is available at its Elder Justice Initiative at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP. The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office for Victims of Crime, which can be reached at https://www.ovc.gov.
USAO - Pennsylvania, Western;
Department of Homeland Security OIG