With stolen data and a call center based in India, a group of thieves impersonated Internal Revenue Service and US Citizenship and Immigration Services officials to scare money out of US residents.
Ashvinbhai Chaudhari, 28, plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in the case, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Chaudhari and his co-conspirators used information from data brokers to create a ruse where Indian call center operators would impersonate IRS and immigration officials and contact US residents to threaten them with arrest, imprisonment, fines, or deportation unless they paid money they allegedly owed the government.
The victims were instructed to make payments by wiring money or purchasing stored value cards. Once the funds were received, the call centers would use a network of "runners" located in the US to liquidate and launder the money, according to the DOJ.
Chaudhari, an Indian national who resided in Texas at the time of the theft, is one of 55 other individuals who have been charged in the case. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21. This case is the latest example of the rapid rise in call center fraud, which spiked 113% in 2016.
Read more about the call center case here.