Loren Esse was Scammed into scamming? Police say a Des Moines, Iowa man was tricked into stealing around $200,000
Loren Esse of Des Moines Became A Money Mule But When Notified By The Police He Refused To Stop!
According to WHO13:
Loren Christopher Esse, 71, has been accused of helping phone scammers by collecting cash from the victims and depositing the cash into a Bitcoin ATM. According to a criminal complaint, Esse took $13,800 from one victim and deposited the money into a Bitcoin ATM in June.
Sgt. Parizek said Loren Esse continued to aid the scammers despite the initial conversation. Investigators spoke with Esse a second time and again informed him that what he was doing was illegal but he continued, Sgt. Parizek said.
Loren Esse has been charged with money laundering – planning or financing transaction. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 6.
Sgt. Parizek said the department has seen an increase in these kinds of cases over the past year. This year alone victims have lost nearly $500,000 to phone scams, he said.
“It horribly impacts peoples’ lives if they fall prey to it,” Sgt. Parizek said. “Close to half a million dollars that people are being defrauded and that’s life changing. It changes your retirement, it changes your healthcare, it changes every plan you have.”
According to KCCI8 of DES MOINES, Iowa:
Police said scammers tricked a man into working for them by convincing him they were a government agency investigating cybercrime.
Loren Esse of Des Moines is facing charges for participation in a money laundering scheme that he was convinced was an investigation.
“Loren Esse started out in this case as a victim,” Des Moines Police Department Sgt. Paul Parizek said. “But as he continued on moving this money through these accounts and putting the cash into bitcoin and sending it on, what we realized was that he’s actually helping them facilitate this crime unknowingly.”
Parizek said police tried telling Loren Esse the scheme wasn’t real and that he needed to stop, but he was convinced the scammers were legitimate and kept helping them. The only way to stop him, was to arrest him.
“There’s no detectives high-fiving each other over this. This is not something we are excited about; these scammers are very convincing,” Parizek said.
So convincing, the department estimates phone scams have stolen around half a million dollars from the Des Moines metro. Esse was discovered to have sent scammers around $200,000 he had obtained from people.