A man who owned and ran a network of call centers that defrauded US victims of millions of dollars has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and must pay out $8,970,396 to his victims.
Hitesh Madhubhai Patel, aka Hitesh Hinglaj, 44, of Ahmedabad, India, will serve his sentence in federal prison plus three years of supervised release for charges of wire fraud conspiracy, general conspiracy to commit identification fraud, access device fraud, money laundering, and impersonation of a federal officer or employee. The charges are related to the operation of his India-based call centers from 2013 and 2016.
"The defendant defrauded vulnerable US victims out of tens of millions of dollars by spearheading a conspiracy whose members boldly impersonated federal government officials and preyed on victims' fears of adverse government action," said Acting Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department Criminal Division, in a statement.
In a plea agreement, Patel said he and his co-defendents posed as the IRS and called US citizens.
According to admissions in his plea agreement, Patel and his co-conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which employees from call centers in Ahmedabad impersonated officials from the IRS and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in phone calls to US citizens, threatening arrest, fines, or deportation if the victims didn't pay supposed fees owed to the US government.
Patel was extradited to the US from Singapore in April 2019 after an indictment in October 2016 charged him and 60 individuals for crimes associated with the massive call center operation.
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