Two Indians plead guilty in international robocall scam targeting people in US

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Parmar and Patel both face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the crime.

In this international robocall scam, conspirators after establishing contact would pressure, cajole or trick the victims to send bulk cash or through physical shipments and electronic money transfers.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said that two Indian nationals pleaded guilty to conspiracy and identity theft in connection with an overseas multi-million dollar robocall scam that tricked several in the United States. 

In a statement, DOJ said Pradipsinh Parmar, 41, and Sumer Patel, 37, are the two Indians who pleaded guilty and both face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the crime. Parmar also faces an additional mandatory minimum sentence of two years on the aggravated identity theft count.

In this fraud, Shehzadkhan Pathan, who pleaded guilty on January 15 is the leader of the conspiracy, He operated a call center in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, from where the automated robocalls were made to victims in the United States. Pathan and his conspirators after establishing contact would pressure, cajole or trick the victims to send bulk cash or through physical shipments and electronic money transfers. Numerous schemes were used to convince the victims including impersonating law enforcement officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and representatives of other government institutions, like the Social Security Administration. The conspirators threatened the victims with varied legal and financial consequences.

Court documents indicate that Parmar collected money on behalf of the conspiracy that victims had sent through wire service or a parcel delivery carrier.  After collecting the money, he deposited it into bank accounts as per Pathan’s direction. Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia  Raj Parekh stated that in the robocall scam, Parmar traveled around the United States to collect around $6 million “that was stolen from more than 4,000 victims.” 

Parmar in his guilty plea admitted that from March 2017 to April 2019, he traveled to 30 states and collected at least 4,358 wire transfers sent by victims, with losses totaling at least $4,312,585, and also received 91 packages of bulk cash totaling to at least $1,593,591. The federal prosecutors claimed that Parmar received at least 549 counterfeit identification documents from Pathan for his use in retrieving the packages. 

Meanwhile, Patel on behalf of Pathan from October 2018 to March 2019 redeemed more than 250 individual wire transfers from 230 individual victims. These wires totaled $219,520.98. While living in Virginia Chesterfield County, he also received eight cash packages from victims. 

Parmar and Patel are scheduled to be sentenced on June 18. 

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