Long reportedly operated a third-party payment processing company, V Internet Corp, which worked to create and deposit remotely-created checks (RCCs), which Long maneuvered to have his name on, saying the checks were authorized by the account holder rather than the payee.
Long pled guilty in November of 2019 to a scheme where he committed wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The charges dated back to 2013, when Long created and deposited checks from the checking accounts of over 375,000 victims, saying that the victims’ banks had authorized the fund transfers. This lasted for six months during that year, the press release says.
The total amount that Long was able to glean was around $22 million. Around half of that was rejected by the victims’ banks, but Long still made out with around $11 million, according to the release.
The victims would call in to complain about the charges and Long instructed employees to say that the mostly elderly victims had authorized the payments in connection with an online payday loan application. With the victims’ money, Long purchased a ranch and 23 acres of land in Texas, the press release says, along with three airplanes, cars, a fire truck, and construction and farm equipment.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service took Long’s airplanes and other property along with $2.9 million of his assets, the release says. Long has also forfeited the ranch and land he purchased in Texas as part of a forfeiture judgment and the sentencing hearing.
Though Long’s story had nothing to do with COVID-19, fraud in the age of the pandemic has been prevalent, with phishing and phone scams taking advantage of numerous defendants confused by the new largely-digital ways of doing things as the world has changed.