Three Indians Arrested in U.S. for Wire Fraud

The trio had conspired with Indian call centers from 2014  through at least 2016 to extort money from U.S. residents by impersonating as IRS officers.


A U.S. court has indicted three Indian-origin people for their alleged part in running a wire fraud using India based call centers.

According to an official statement, Nishitkumar Patel (31), Hemalkumar Shah (27), and Sharvil Patel (22), all from Tampa, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and extortion, and substantive counts of wire fraud and extortion.

Nishit and Hemal have been charged with money laundering and aggravated identity theft. Each of the three Indian nationals will be facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on each count of wire fraud conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, wire fraud, and extortion.

The statement also notes that Nishitkumar Patel and Hemalkumar will face an additional penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison for money laundering and a minimum mandatory consecutive two years in prison for aggravated identity theft.

The court document states that that the trio had conspired with India based call centers from 2014 through at least 2016 to extort money from U.S. residents by impersonating IRS officers. The defendants convinced their victims to believe that they owed money to the IRS and would be arrested and fined if they did not pay their alleged back taxes immediately. Most victims paid immediately. The defendants collected the scam money by withdrawing cash from prepaid cards purchased and funded by the victims. They also hired other conspirators (runners) to retrieve money wired by the victims to those runners, along with hiring runners to open bank accounts into which the victims were supposed to deposit fraud proceeds.

For collecting the sham money, the defendants provided the runners with the victims’ names, locations, and the amount paid. The trio further directed the runners to retrieve the fraud proceeds in cash, and transfer it to the hands of the defendants, often less a payment to the runner for opening the account or conducting the transaction.

While the probe was ongoing, on Oct. 23, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the home of Nishit and Hemal. Among other items, officers seized approximately $50,000 in cash, hundreds of bank and wire transfer receipts, and 20 electronic devices.

Further, the statement notes, “An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.”

Earlier this year, twenty one members of a India-based call center fraud were sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Jul. 20. The scam and money laundering conspiracy defrauded thousands of U.S. residents of hundreds of millions of dollars.

In May, Federal Authorities had charged two Indian-origin men with securities and wire fraud for allegedly fraudulently increasing the value of private funds that they advised by hundreds of millions of dollars, PTI reported.

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