US: Indian college intern jailed for 5 years

World

11 Jun 2019

US: Indian student gets 5-year jail over $1mn tech scam

A college student from India, who was interning in the United States, has been sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for running a telemarketing scam.

The intern, Bishwajeet Kumar Jha (21), reportedly duped around two dozen people of nearly a million dollars through a "tech support" fraud scheme, US Department of Justice said on Monday.

Here are more details.

Details

Jha and others targeted senior citizens; took their retirement funds

Jha and others targeted senior citizens; took their retirement funds

Jha was among several interns from the same college in India who were completing a hospitality industry internship in the US.

The victims, aged 58-93, were defrauded of their retirement funds, ranging between $1,180-174,300. Over three months, they collected $937,280.

The operation was based in Newport, Rhode Island, and had ties to a larger telemarketing operation in India, the Department of Justice stated.

How

Here's how the interns operated the scam

Reportedly, the victims, who believed that they had purchased technology support, were told that the money they paid had been incorrectly transferred back into their bank accounts by the tech support company.

The victims were then tricked into returning the erroneous refund either directly to Jha, or others involved in the scam. Some victims were even told to transfer the money overseas.

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Investigation

Investigation revealed money was transferred to India, China, Singapore

Investigation revealed money was transferred to India, China, Singapore

Newport Police interrupted the operation on November 20 last year when a court-authorized search of the residence of Jha and others revealed the possession of several items used to run the scam.

Further investigation, led by Newport Police and Homeland Security Investigation agents, revealed that the money was transferred to a bank account in California and later transferred internationally to India, Singapore, and China.

Quote

This type of criminal activity is disturbing: Newport Police Chief

Newport Police Chief Gary T. Silva said, "This type of criminal activity is disturbing. Those who prey on citizens, particularly those citizens who are vulnerable, are deliberately calculating in their persistent efforts to defraud honest people."

Silva added, "Successful prosecution of those responsible should provide notice to others contemplating similar acts that law enforcement and prosecutors are committed to bring to justice those responsible."

Punishment

Jha sentenced to 60 months; ordered to repay victims

Jha sentenced to 60 months; ordered to repay victims

In a federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, US District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. sentenced Jha to 60 months in prison. Additionally, Jha has been ordered to repay his victims. A restitution order will be issued by the Court at a later date, the Department of Justice stated.

After completing his jail term, Jha will be deported to India.

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Most asked questions

How did the interns scam people?

How much money were the victims duped of?

How was the scam discovered?

Where did this incident take place?

More questions

How did the interns scam people?

Asked 2019-06-11 15:59:44 by Diya Rangan

Answered by NewsBytes

The victims, who believed that they had purchased technology support, were told that that the money they paid had been incorrectly transferred back into their bank accounts by the tech support company. The victims were then tricked into returning the erroneous refund either directly to Jha, or others involved in the scam. Some victims were even told to transfer the money overseas.

How much money were the victims duped of?

Asked 2019-06-11 15:59:44 by Arjun Jaiteley

Answered by NewsBytes

Reports suggest that under the scam, Jha and others involved defrauded people of funds ranging between $1,180-174,300. Over months, the scam collected $937,280.

How was the scam discovered?

Asked 2019-06-11 15:59:44 by Shreyas Malik

Answered by NewsBytes

Newport police conducted a court-ordered search of Jha's residence, and the homes of others, and discovered several items used to run the fraudulent scheme.

Where did this incident take place?

Asked 2019-06-11 15:59:44 by Cheshta Singh

Answered by NewsBytes

The operation was based in Newport, Rhode Island, and had ties to a larger telemarketing operation in India, the Department of Justice stated.

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