Telemarketer under indictment in Las Vegas arrested on way to border

Alan Rodrigues is back in trouble with the law.

Federal authorities say Rodrigues was arrested last week trying to flee to Mexico before his upcoming sentencing in a massive tax scheme case.

Rodrigues, 54, was indicted with six other people in December in another criminal case alleging he participated in a multimillion-dollar telemarketing scheme to defraud struggling small businesses.

According to authorities, FBI agents investigating the telemarketing scheme took Rodrigues into custody Feb. 25 after he boarded a Las Vegas shuttle headed for San Ysidro, Calif., across the border from Tijuana.

While being interviewed, Rodrigues falsely identified himself as Alejandro Lopez and provided four pieces of identification in that name, court documents allege. The shuttle ticket in his possession was in the name of “Alejandro L.”

“The defendant advised law enforcement that he was a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, and he was traveling to Tijuana for three days,” the documents state.

He had $63,000 in his possession.

Rodrigues and two other men were convicted in federal court last year in a nationwide tax scheme that cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Federal prosecutors say the scheme defrauded struggling small businesses by falsely promising help to obtain federal grants. The scheme took in $26 million from 3,500 victims across the country.

The scheme, which occurred more than a decade ago, involved a now-defunct Las Vegas company, the National Audit Defense Network. The company was accused of selling an Internet package, dubbed Tax Break 2000, to help thousands of clients across the country claim improper tax deductions.

The three defendants are to be sentenced on Monday before U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, who will first hold a hearing on whether to revoke Rodrigues’ personal recognizance bond and keep him behind bars.

In the telemarketing scheme, Rodrigues and the alleged leader, Mark Bausch, 40, face conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering charges. Bausch has legally changed his name to Mark Eting — a play on the word marketing.

According to the indictment, the seven defendants carried out the scheme from 2007 to 2010 through four telemarketing companies — Small Business Funding Co., Company Funds Inc., Foundation Research Inc. and Silver State Holding Co.

The conspirators made false statements to the business owners to get them to pay for their phony services and then used the money to “enrich themselves,” the indictment alleges.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ.

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