US Court sentenced Indian National to 20 years in prison over call Center fraud
AUSTIN – A US court has sentenced an Indian national to 20 years in prison in the Southern District of Texas for operating and funding India based call centers that conned American victims of millions of dollars from 2013 to 2016.
Hitesh Madhubhai Patel, aka Hitesh Hinglaj, 44, who hails from Ahmedabad, was sentenced on the charges of fraud and money laundering. The sentence is also followed by three years of supervised release.
US District Judge David Hittner sentenced him for the charges of wire fraud conspiracy and general conspiracy to commit identification fraud, access device fraud, money laundering, and impersonation of a federal officer or employee.
Patel was also ordered to pay restitution of $8,970,396 to identified victims of his crimes.
"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's Criminal Division in a statement link .
Besides impersonation, the call center employees were found to engage in telephone call scams designed to con victims by threatening them with arrest, imprisonment, fines, or deportation for failing to pay alleged money owed to the government.
"Those who fell victim to the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards or wiring money," the Department of Justice said. "Upon payment, the call centers would immediately turn to a network of 'runners' based in the US to liquidate and launder the fraudulently obtained funds."
The "sentence demonstrates the department's commitment to prosecuting high-level perpetrators of such nefarious schemes. Even fraudsters operating scams from beyond our borders are not beyond the reach of the US judicial system."