An Indian national pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and liquidating money received illegally through telephone fraud and money laundering schemes through an Indian-based #Call Center.

How the crimes were committed.

According to court admissions, Harsh Patel 28, with others impersonated the #United States Internal Revenue services and Citizenship and Immigration officials using call centers located in Ahmedabad, India. Harsh Patel and others used the information they had obtained from data brokers and other sources to commit this crime. They later used this information to threaten victims of arrest, imprisonment, deportation and fines if they failed to pay money they owed the U.S government.

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Victims were then instructed to pay the scammers by purchasing stored value cards and by wiring money. The fraudsters would later turn to a network of money launders in the United States who helped them liquidate illegally acquired property and to launder the funds they obtained.

According to his confessions, Harsh Patel worked in New Jersey, California, and Illinois since the year 2015. Communication between him and his co-conspirators based in India was done through the WhatsApp messaging application. Harsh Patel also admitted to purchasing cards registered with personal identifying information of U.S. citizens. Once victim proceeds were loaded onto those cards, Harsh Patel disposed the proceeds in the cards and transferred the cash into money orders for deposit into several banks while keeping a percentage of the victim funds to himself.

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Harsh Patel also received fake identification documents from co-conspirators living in India and other sources and used the documents to receive victim scam payments via wire transfers.

Other fraudsters

Five Indian based call centers and 55 other individuals were also charged with similar money laundering schemes. The hearings were held in the Southern District of Texas on October 2016. Harsh Patel is the third defendant to plead guilty to such a case after Bharatkumar Patel, 43, and Ashvinbhai Chaudhari, 28, pleaded guilty last month to similar crimes.

Investigators

The Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigations that lead to the arrest of the fraudsters.

Victims of such scams can contact The Federal Trade Commission through their website. #Fake