21 Indian-origin persons sentenced to prison in multi-million call centre fraud in US

Twenty-one Indian-origin persons have been sentenced in Washington to up to 20 years for their role in a massive India-based call centre scam which defrauded thousands of US residents of hundreds of millions of dollars, the Justice Department said.

Indo-Asian News Service July 21, 2018 22:44:52 IST
21 Indian-origin persons sentenced to prison in multi-million call centre fraud in US

Washington: Twenty-one Indian-origin persons have been sentenced in Washington to up to 20 years for their role in a massive India-based call centre scam which defrauded thousands of US residents of hundreds of millions of dollars, the Justice Department said.

The sentences which range from 4 years to 20 years were announced earlier this week, the department said in a press release on Friday.

21 Indianorigin persons sentenced to prison in multimillion call centre fraud in US

Representational image. Reuters

"The stiff sentences imposed this week represent the culmination of the first-ever large-scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call center scam industry," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"This case represents one of the most significant victories to date in our continuing efforts to combat elder fraud and the victimisation of the most vulnerable members of the US public.

"The transnational criminal ring of fraudsters and money launderers who conspired to bilk older Americans, legal immigrants and many others out of their life savings, must recognize that all resources will be deployed to shut down these telefraud schemes, put those responsible in jail and bring a measure of justice to the victims," Sessions said.

According to various admissions made in connection with the defendants' guilty pleas, between 2012 and 2016, the defendants and their conspirators perpetrated a complex fraud and money laundering scheme in which individuals from call centres located in Ahmedabad frequently impersonated officials from the federal tax agency, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or US Citizenship and Immigration Services in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout the US.

Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, the accused targeted the US victims who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay alleged monies owed to the government.

Victims who agreed to pay the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing stored value cards or wiring money. Upon payment, the call centres would immediately turn to a network of "runners" based in the US to liquidate and launder the fraudulently obtained funds.

For their services, the runners would earn a specific fee or a percentage of the funds. Runners also received victims' funds via wire transfers, which were retrieved under fake names and through the use of using false identification documents, direct bank deposits by victims or other gift cards that victims purchased.

Three other conspirators were sentenced earlier this year for laundering proceeds for the conspiracy.

Twenty-two of the accused were held jointly and severally liable for restitution of $8,970,396 payable to identified victims of their crimes. Additionally, the court entered individual preliminary orders of forfeiture against the defendants for assets that were seized in the case, and money judgments totalling over $72,942,300.

The indictment in the case also charged 32 India-based conspirators and five India-based call centres with general conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. These defendants are yet to be arraigned in the case.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

China accuses US of undermining peace after American warship USS Barry sails through Taiwan Strait
World

China accuses US of undermining peace after American warship USS Barry sails through Taiwan Strait

The self-ruled island of Taiwan has been a long-running source of tension between the US and China. While Washington ended its diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979, it remained as the island's main supplier of arms

IPL 2020: Gayle's stylish return, Kohli's tactics and other talking points from RCB vs KXIP fixture
First Cricket News

IPL 2020: Gayle's stylish return, Kohli's tactics and other talking points from RCB vs KXIP fixture

Both teams made a lot of tactical blunders throughout the 40 overs, so much so that towards the climax, it seemed both were trying their best to lose. But in the end, Punjab had the last laugh by chasing down 172 on the final ball of the match.

IPL 2020: Was a late call to give Mohammed Siraj the new ball, says RCB captain Virat Kohli after pacer's fiery spell
First Cricket News

IPL 2020: Was a late call to give Mohammed Siraj the new ball, says RCB captain Virat Kohli after pacer's fiery spell

Mohammed Siraj, who replaced Shahbaz Ahmed in RCB's playing XI, took three wickets in rare two wicket-maiden overs to decisively turn the match in his team's favour.