On Friday, September 8, 2017, it was announced that four more defendants had pleaded guilty to conspiracy and passport fraud charges during the past month for their involvement in liquidating and laundering victim payments, which were generated through a telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme. The scheme was allegedly carried out by a network of India-based call center.
The following individuals have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the scam.
- 26-year-old Nisarg Patel of Flemington, New Jersey
- 30-year-old Dilipkumar Ramanlal of Ocala, Florida
- 39-year-old Rajesh Kumar of Mesa, Arizona
Each man pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering offenses. All of the defendants have been held in federal custody since they were arrested in December of 2016. They will remain detained until their pending sentencing dates.
In a connected case, 38-year-old Dipakkumar Sankalchand Patel of Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Patel was arrested in May of 2017 and has remained in custody ever since. He will remain in prison until his pending sentencing date.
According to admissions made in relation to their pleas, the defendants and their co-conspirators carried out a complex scheme using call centers located in Ahmedabad, India. Individuals at the call centers pretended to be officials from the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services and the IRS when attempting to defraud victims in the United States.
The defendants utilized information acquired from data brokers and other sources to target U.S. victims and threaten them with arrest, imprisonment, fines and even deportation. The victims were ordered to pay money that they owed the U.S. government. Once they agreed to pay the money, the victims were given instructions for making their payments. This sometimes involved wiring money and other times involved buying stored value cards.
After payments were made, the call centers would use a network of “runners” in the United States to liquidate and launder the fraudulently obtained funds. As part of his guilty plea, Nisarg Patel admitted to acting like a domestic runner for HGLOBAL and other India-based call centers. Patel received a percentage of commission for the transactions.
Dilipkumar Ramanlal Patel also served as a runner from August 2013 to February 2014. Kumar admitted to begin a runner as well and frequently laundered scam proceeds from reloadable cards. He also purchased money orders with the funds as instructed by domestic and India-based co-defendants. Kumar additionally confessed to using fraudulent identification documents to receive wire transfers directly from the victims.
Dipakkumar Sankalchand Patel served as a runner and operated in the Chicago, Illinois area, as well as elsewhere throughout the country. To date, Nisarg Patel, Kumar Dilipkumar Ramanlal Patel and 53 other individuals and five India-based call centers have been charged for their involved in the fraud and money laundering scheme. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.