The runners were directed to retrieve the fraud proceeds in cash and turn the funds over to the defendants, often less a payment to the runner for opening the account or conducting the transaction.
An Indian has been sentenced to eight years and six months in federal prison for his role in an Indian call centre scam involving conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Hemalkumar Shah, 27, who pleaded guilty to the charges on January 28, is the second Indian national to be sentenced for the role in the call centre scam. As part of Shah’s sentence, a US court in Florida also entered a money judgment of USD 80,000.
According to court documents, from 2014 through 2016, Shah conspired with US-based co-conspirators and India-based call centers to extort money from US residents by impersonating IRS officers and misleading 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.
The conspirators collected the fraud proceeds by withdrawing cash from prepaid cards purchased and funded by victims; hiring other conspirators (runners) to retrieve money wired by the victims to those runners; and hiring runners to open bank accounts into which victims deposited fraud proceeds.
The defendants collected the proceeds by providing the runners with the victims’ names, locations and amounts paid. The runners were directed to retrieve the fraud proceeds in cash and turn the funds over to the defendants, often less a payment to the runner for opening the account or conducting the transaction.
Four others previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme. On March 25, Alejandro Juarez was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, and on March 29, Nishitkumar Patel was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months’ imprisonment. Sharvil Patel and Brenda Dozier are currently awaiting sentencing.