HOW A FOREIGN CALL CENTER STOLE $6 MILLION FROM U.S. RESIDENTS IN A PHONE SCAM PRETENDING TO BE POLICE

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Source: MEGA

Feb. 23 2021, Published 11:18 a.m. ET

U.S. residents were scammed out of nearly $6 million by two foreign men in a robocall scam where the caller posed as law enforcement officials. 

In total, there were more than 4,000 victims, many of whom were elderly, federal prosecutors said. 

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Pradipsinh Parmar, 41, and Sumer Patel, 37, recently pleaded guilty for their roles in the scam. They will be sentenced at a later date and each face up to 20 years in prison. 

The scheme was directed by Shehzadkhan Pathan, 39, who previously pleaded guilty.

Pathan ran a call center in India where robocalls would go to U.S. residents, according to federal prosecutors. The callers impersonated law enforcement officials, such as those from the FBI and DEA. They also pretended to be from other government agencies. 

The callers threatened the victims with legal and financial consequences if they did not pay. 

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Parmar admitted between March 2017 and April 2019 he visited 30 states to collect more than 4,000 wire transfers from the victims. The total collected was about $4.3 million, prosecutors said. He also got more than 90 packages of cash in the mail that totaled more than $1.5 million. 

Parmar had nearly 550 counterfeit identification documents that he used to retrieve the packages and transfers. 

From October 2018 to March 2019, Patel received more than 250 wire transfers that totaled almost $220,000, according to prosecutors. He also got packages in the mail that totaled more than $50,000.

“Pradipsinh Parmar crisscrossed the United States to collect nearly $6 million that was stolen from more than 4,000 victims in an international robocalls scam,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh said in annoucning the pleas. “By falsely impersonating representatives of the FBI, DEA, Social Security Administration, and other government agencies, members of this conspiracy preyed on thousands of unsuspecting victims, many of whom were elderly. This Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat international financial fraud and elder abuse schemes.” 

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