Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Montana U.S. Attorney’s Office has published several important stories about crimes in Montana including scams to defraud individuals who have been threatened into paying cryptocurrency for fake and non-existent arrest warrants.

Cryptocurrency was Sought for Fraudulent PPP Claims

Public Affairs Officer Clair Howard wrote on Friday that ‘targets of the scam receive phone calls or forged court documents stating that they are being investigated for Payroll Protection Program (PPP) fraud and are the subject of an arrest warrant. The documents often claim to have been sent on behalf of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch. Additional documents sent by scammers advise the recipient that to lift the arrest warrant, the recipient must make a payment through a cryptocurrency kiosk. The documents contain detailed instructions on how to use a cryptocurrency kiosk to send payment.’

Howard wrote, ‘The U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with the FBI, are warning the public that these solicitations are unapproved and illegitimate. If you receive solicitations to lift an arrest warrant in exchange for cryptocurrency payments, you should not respond or follow those instructions’.

Wyoming Man Convicted for Prostitution and Lying to Federal Authorities

In other Federal District Court cases, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said a U.S. District Court judge on Feb. 20 convicted a Wyoming man for his role in arranging for commercial sex in Billings and then making false statements to federal investigators.

After a one-day bench trial on Feb. 20, U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters found the defendant, Mark Jay Albrecht, 66, of Gillette, Wyoming, guilty of use of the facility in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering and making a false statement as charged in a fourth superseding indictment. Albrecht faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release on each crime.

A BLM Employee Admitted to Theft and Forgery Charges

In Missoula Federal Court, Howard detailed the case against a former Bureau of Land Management employee.

A former Bureau of Land Management employee today admitted to stealing agency checks and forging the signature of another employee to obtain cash for personal expenses. 52 year-old Adrian Anthony Aragon of Butte, pleaded guilty to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Aragon faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250 000 fine and three years of supervised release on the theft crime and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release on the aggravated identity theft crime'.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen will sentence Aragon on June 26. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Aragon was detained pending further proceedings.

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.

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