The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is investigating a new scam targeting Americans who buy prescription drugs online, TMZ is reporting. The investigation comes after victims were threatened with extradition and prosecution by people posing as DEA agents, and extorted for as much as $100,000.
Those posing as DEA agents have infiltrated websites selling prescription drugs and contacted customers, telling them there have been indicted in the Dominican Republic for illegal drug purchases. The impersonators then said that the judge in the case will accept a civil fine instead of prosecuting. The fines ranged from $2,500 to $25,000, although some demands were as high as $100,000.
DEA officials have stated that approximately 2,000 people have come forward, claiming they’ve been victimized. But the officials have no idea how many people paid the false fines without coming forward. The American government has indicted 11 Dominicans for criminal conspiracy involving wire fraud, but none have been arrested yet.
The news of the scam comes after a Hollywood producer, who has declined to identify himself, received a message on his phone from a man claiming to work for the DEA. The man said he needed to speak with the producer, as he was indicted on drug charges, for buying a bottle of Xanax online five years ago.
The producer’s lawyer made contact with the alleged DEA agent by phone, and the man said one of the judges in the Dominican Republic would make the charge disappear if he paid a fee. The lawyer became suspicious, taped the next call and handed the information over the real DEA.
As a result of the producer and other victims coming forward, the DEA has set up the DEA Extortion Scam Hotline for people to call, 1(877) 792-2873.
Written by: Karen Benardello