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Some members of Mexican drug cartel posed as US officials in bold timeshare fraud, says US authorities

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Mexican Drug Cartel Poses as U.S. Treasury Officials in Elderly Fraud Scam

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has uncovered a fraudulent scheme operated by the Jalisco drug cartel that targeted elderly Americans. The gang’s operators posed as U.S. Treasury Department officials and used call centers to promote fake offers to buy Americans’ timeshare properties. The scam has scammed at least 600 Americans out of about $40 million.

In a bold move, the scammers also began contacting people claiming to be employees of OFAC itself and offering to free up funds purportedly frozen by the U.S. agency, which combats illicit funds and money laundering. The agency warned that perpetrators of timeshare fraud often misuse government agency names in attempts to appear legitimate. They call victims and claim to represent OFAC, demanding a payment in exchange for the release of funds that the perpetrator claims OFAC has blocked.

In response to these activities, OFAC announced a new round of sanctions against three Mexican citizens and 13 companies linked to the Jalisco cartel, known as CJNG. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen condemned CJNG for using extreme violence and intimidation to control the timeshare network, which often targets elderly U.S. citizens and can defraud victims of their life savings.

The fraudulent activities also took a deadly toll, as it was confirmed that as many as eight young workers were found dead after apparently attempting to quit jobs at a call center operated by the Jalisco cartel. These workers’ families believed they were working at a normal call center, but the office was actually run by Jalisco, Mexico’s most violent gang.

The U.S. government is urging the public to be cautious and not to fall victim to these fraudulent schemes. Officials are working to crack down on these criminal activities and bring those responsible to justice.

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Photo credit apnews.com

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