LOS ANGELES – A scheme to use virtual offices in more than a dozen cities to engage in mail fraud and money laundering was busted on Friday. The virtual office tenants were using prestigious addresses as a front for an operation that victimized more than 1,000 people and scammed millions of dollars.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced that eight people from Las Vegas and Los Angeles had been arrested and charged with conspiracy, wire and mail fraud and money laundering.
“The defendants allegedly used mailing addresses or ‘virtual office suites’ in Las Vegas, Houston, Chicago and Seattle for receiving monies from timeshare owners via U.S. Mail or commercial interstate carriers like Fed Ex, all the while maintaining call center offices in Las Vegas, Houston, Chicago, and the greater Los Angeles-area from which the defendants, using telephones and email, contacted and communicated with timeshare owners, in an alleged scheme to defraud the timeshare owners of money,” Xinhua reports.
Despite the fact that some unscrupulous characters tend to use virtual offices for nefarious purposes, the virtual office model is legitimate for small businesses and entrepreneurs around the world. Virtual offices are also ideal for multinational companies seeking to branch out and establish a presence in a new territory without the financial risk that comes with traditional office space. Global companies can set up sales offices with a virtual office address.
“We understand why so many of today’s workers meet with clients and partners in coffee houses and restaurants, but sometimes you need something more professional, quieter or other amenities such as whiteboards and projectors,” says Frank Cottle, chairman of Alliance Virtual Offices. “Our great locations provide everything you need for your next meeting, deposition, interview or just to spend a day in a private office.”