Two Indian nationals jailed in US for wire fraud
India-based fraudulent call centres reportedly used automated robocalls to contact victims across the US to defraud American residents, particularly the elderly
Two Indian nationals have been sentenced to 41 months in prison in the US for their role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud by illegally obtaining $1.2 million in wire transfers from victims across that country, a US attorney has said.
Arushobike Mitra (29) and Garbita Mitra (25) had previously pleaded guilty before US District Judge Esther Salas to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Attorney Philip R Sellinger announced on Tuesday.
“These defendants and their conspirators preyed upon some of our most vulnerable citizens, using trickery and threats to coerce them into sending money,” Sellinger said.
How the fraud was done
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court as part of an international fraud scheme, India-based fraudulent call centres utilised automated robocalls to contact victims across the country to defraud US residents, particularly the elderly.
After establishing contact with victims through these automated calls, other members of the conspiracy would coerce or trick the victims into sending large sums of cash through physical shipments or wire transfers to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras, a media release said.
These conspirators used a variety of schemes to convince victims to send money, including impersonating government officials from agencies such as the Social Security Administration, or impersonating law enforcement officers from the FBI or DEA, and threatened victims with severe legal or financial consequences if they did not comply, federal prosecutors alleged.
Another method used by the callers involved convincing the victim they were speaking with someone from a tech support company and coercing the victim into granting the caller remote access to their personal computers.
The caller would then access the victim’s bank accounts and make it appear to the victim that the caller had inadvertently added money to the victim’s bank account, when in fact the caller had simply transferred money from another one of the victim’s own accounts. The caller would then instruct the victim to “return” the money by way of mail or wire transfer to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras, it said.
(With agency inputs)