NEW JERSEY – Two New Jersey men were among 24 sentenced in a multimillion dollar India-based call center scam that defrauded thousands of U.S. residents.
Sentencing hearings were held before Judge David Hittner in Houston in the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas.
A July 20 press release from that office stated that the two men, Harsh Patel, 28, and Nisarg Patel, 26, only described as being from New Jersey, were sentenced.
Hittner sentenced Harsh Patel to serve 82 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of money laundering conspiracy. The judge recommended deportation upon completion of that sentence.
Nisarg Patel was sentenced to 48 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, on one count of conspiracy.
The men were members of a massive India-based fraud and money laundering scheme, in which callers claimed to be IRS agents between 2012 and 2016. Those calls centers are located in Ahmedabad, India.
They obtained information from data brokers as well as other sources, and used that information to threaten arrest, fine or imprison victims if they did not pay up.
“Victims who agreed to pay the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing stored value cards or wiring money. Once a victim provided payment, the call centers turned to a network of runners based in the United States to liquidate and launder the extorted funds as quickly as possible by purchasing reloadable cards or retrieving wire transfers,” the July 20 statement said.
Other runners from Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, California and Florida were also sentenced, some as much as 20 years.
Anyone who believes they’ve been defrauded in such a scam is asked to file a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission website at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.