More than 20 Indian-origin persons jailed in US over India-based call center scam
NEW YORK: Over 20 Indian-origin persons have been sentenced up to 20 years in prison in the US for their involvement in a multimillion-dollar India-based call center scam which defrauded thousands of American citizens of hundreds of millions of dollars. The prison sentences for the 21 people convicted this week range from 4 to 20 years. “The stiff sentences imposed represent the culmination of the first-ever large-scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call center scam industry,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. Several of the convicted will be deported to India after the completion of their sentence. “This case represents one of the most significant victories to date in our continuing efforts to combat elder fraud and the victimisation of the most vulnerable members of the US public. “The transnational criminal ring of fraudsters and money launderers who conspired to bilk older Americans, legal immigrants and many others out of their life savings through their lies, threats and financial schemes must recognise that all resources at the Department’s disposal will be deployed to shut down these telefraud schemes, put those responsible in jail, and bring a measure of justice to the victims,” Sessions said. According to US officials, the call center scam defrauded thousands of US residents of hundreds of millions of dollars. Prosecutors said the Indian call centers used various telephone fraud schemes to defraud mainly vulnerable Americans, including the elderly and legal immigrants. According to various admissions made in connection with the guilty pleas, between 2012 and 2016, the defendants and their conspirators perpetrated a complex fraud and money laundering scheme in which individuals from call centers located in Ahmedabad frequently impersonated officials from the Internal Revenue Service or US Citizenship and Immigration Services in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout America. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators targeted US victims who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay the alleged money owed to the government.