Federal prosecutors said recently that the last of 24 US-based defendants have pleaded guilty as part of the takedown of a massive phone-based scam that spanned all the way to India.
Miteshkumar Patel’s guilty plea, signed on November 13, marks the last of the 24 men, while 32 more suspects remain at large in India.
Over a year ago, federal authorities announced that 56 people and six companies had been indicted on various fraud charges involving phone call scams purportedly coming from the Internal Revenue Service and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials.
If victims didn’t pay up, the callers threatened them with arrest, deportation, or heavier fines. Related scams involved fake payday loans and bogus US government grants, according to the 2016 criminal complaint.
According to his November 13 plea agreement, Patel, a US-India dual citizen, who was the lead individual defendant in the case, managed six US-based “runners” who liquidated “as much as approximately $25 million in victim funds for conspirators from India-based call center and organization co-defendant HGLOBAL.”
“Miteshkumar Patel also trained the runners he managed on how to conduct the liquidation scheme, provided them with vehicles to conduct their activities in Illinois and throughout the country, and directed a co-defendant to open bank accounts and limited liability companies for use in the conspiracy,” prosecutors wrote.
“Miteshkumar Patel further admitted to using a gas station he owned in Racine, Wisconsin, to liquidate victim funds, and possessing and using equipment at his Illinois apartment to make fraudulent identification documents used by co-defendant runners in his crew to receive wire transfers directly from scam victims and make bank deposits in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
Patel is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2018 in federal court in Houston.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of fraud or identity theft in relation to this investigation or other scam phone calls may contact the Federal Trade Commission.