Twenty-one people were sentenced last week for an India-based fraud and money-laundering scheme that tricked US residents out of hundreds of millions of dollars, the Department of Justice reports. Three members of the same operation were sentenced earlier this year.
As part of the scheme, fraudsters called US targets and pretended they were government employees from the IRS and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They convinced victims they owed money to the US government and would be arrested or deported if they didn't pay. When the money was transferred, US-based "runners" would liquidate the funds.
Members of the operation were sentenced with hefty prison terms. Miteshkumar Patel, who managed a group of runners in Chicago, was given the longest term of 240 months. Hardik Patel was given 188 months for wire-fraud conspiracy. Other participants were sentenced to 151-, 145-, 121-, 108-, 87-, 60-, and 45-month terms. On top of prison time, 22 defendants were "held jointly and severally liable" for restitution of $8,970,396 payable to identified victims.
The indictment also charged 32 India-based conspirators and five Indian call centers with wire-fraud conspiracy, general conspiracy, and money-laundering conspiracy.
Read more details here.
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