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Former Idaho resident indicted as “money mule” for laundering funds from wire fraud and bank fraud schemes

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BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – A 69-year-old former Idaho resident was charged Wednesday for conspiring to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business by collecting money from various wire and bank frauds schemes and then sending the funds to his co conspirators, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced.

The indictment alleges that from approximately October 2017 through July 2020, Andrew Samargis conspired with others to operate as a money mule by receiving at least $1 million of financial fraud proceeds into accounts that he controlled and then conducting financial transactions with the proceeds to disguise the nature and source of the funds. The wire fraud and bank fraud schemes included credit card fraud, counterfeit check-cashing fraud, and COVID-19 funding fraud. A money mule is a person who transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of other individuals and typically receives compensation for providing their services.

It is further alleged that Samargis transmitted the proceeds of the fraud schemes to coconspirators through cash withdrawals, cashier’s checks, and wire transfers, at times disguising the purpose of the transfer by providing false descriptions to the banks. Despite banks repeatedly closing his accounts due to fraud, Samargis continued to serve as a money mule for the fraud schemes.

Samargis is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. If convicted of the most serious crime, Samargis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a $500,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Hurwit credited the investigation by the United States Secret Service, Spokane Resident Office, together with the assistance from the United States Secret Service Tucson and Las Vegas Offices, which led to the charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittney Campbell is prosecuting the case.

This month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, have released a series of PSAs as part of the “Don’t Click December” Consumer Protection Campaign. This campaign is an effort to raise public awareness and alert Idahoans to dangers from online scams and fraud scheme. 

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