Multimillion-dollar robocall scam dupes several in US: Details
(Sourced from PTI)
An overseas multimillion-dollar robocall scam by conspirators having Indian nationality has duped several citizens of the United States. The two Indian nationals have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and identity theft in connection with the robocall scam that defrauded thousands in the US, mostly the elderly, the Department of Justice said.
Pradipsinh Parmar and Sumer Patel face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy. Parmar faces an additional mandatory minimum sentence of two years on an aggravated identity theft count.
Shehzadkhan Pathan, leader of the conspiracy, operated a call center in Ahmedabad from which automated robocalls were made to victims in the US. After establishing contact with the victims through these automated calls, Pathan and other closers at his call center would coerce, cajole, and trick victims to send bulk cash through physical shipments and electronic money transfers. He pleaded guilty on January 15.
According to court documents, Parmar collected money on behalf of the robocall conspiracy that victims had sent either by a parcel delivery carrier or through a wire service. Upon receiving the victims' money, Parmar deposited these funds into bank accounts as directed by Pathan.
Pathan and his conspirators used a variety of schemes to convince victims to send money, including impersonating law enforcement officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration, and representatives of other government agencies, and threatened them with severe legal and financial consequences. They convinced victims to send money via wire transfer as initial installments for falsely promised loans.
Patel retrieved over 250 individual wire transfers from 230 individual victims from October 2018 to March 2019 on behalf of Pathan which totaled $219,520.98. While living in Virginia Chesterfield County, Patel also received eight packages of cash sent by victims. Four of the eight packages are known to have contained a total of $56,200 in cash.
"Parmar crisscrossed the US to collect nearly six million dollars that were stolen from more than 4,000 victims in the international robocall scam," said Raj Parekh, Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
As part of the guilty plea, Parmar admitted that over a two-year period from March 2017 to April 2019, he traveled to 30 states and collected at least 4,358 wire transfers sent by victims, with losses totaling at least $4,312,585. Additionally, Parmar received and attempted to receive at least 91 packages of bulk cash sent by victims from several states, totaling at least $1,593,591.
The federal prosecutors alleged that Parmar also received at least 549 counterfeit identification documents sent to him by Pathan for his use in retrieving these packages and wires sent by victims. Parmar and Patel are scheduled to be sentenced on June 18.