Indian American man pleads guilty to scam to defraud elderly

Representative image
Representative image

Chicago resident faces 20 years jail money laundering from telemarketing scheme.

An Indian American resident of Chicago has pleaded guilty in federal court to laundering cash proceeds from a telemarketing scheme that defrauded elderly victims.

Hirenkumar P. Chaudhari, 27, of Des Plaines,Illinois, pleaded guilty on January 6 to one count of money laundering, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois

The conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.  US District Judge Sara L. Ellis set sentencing for April 1.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.  The prosecution is led by Assistant US Attorneys Kartik K. Raman, an Indian American, and Rick D. Young.

READ: US court shuts down India-based tech-support scam (December 30, 2020)

Chaudhari admitted in a plea agreement that he used a phony Indian passport, false name, and false address to open multiple bank accounts in the US to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme.

The scheme involved phone calls from people falsely claiming to be associated with, among other agencies, the Social Security Administration and US Department of Justice, stating that a victim’s identity had been stolen and that it was necessary to transfer money to various bank accounts, including the accounts opened by Chaudhari.

One of the victims was an elderly woman from Massachusetts who transferred a total of more than $900,000 from her bank and retirement accounts to accounts controlled by Chaudhari or others.

On April 19, 2018 – one day after Chaudhari opened an account and received a $7,000 transfer from the Massachusetts victim – Chaudhari entered a bank branch in Chicago and withdrew $6,500, the plea agreement states.

Chaudhari admitted in the plea agreement that he engaged in this financial transaction knowing that the money represented proceeds of unlawful activity.

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