Fraudsters cheating elderly victims across the US face 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
Two Indian nationals have admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud by accepting illegally obtained $1.2 million in wire transfers from elderly victims across the US.
Arushobike Mitra, 27, and Garbita Mitra, 24, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging them each with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced June 28.
Read: Why robocalls from India-based call centers are on decline (June 20, 2022)
The Mitras are charged with receiving fraudulent transfers of cash from 48 victims across the country totaling more than $1.2 million, according to a press release from US Attorney’s Office for New Jersey district.
The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the amount of the loss, whichever is greater. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for Dec 13, 2022.
As part of an international fraud scheme, criminal India-based call centers utilized automated robocalls to victims across the country with the intent of defrauding US residents, particularly the elderly, according to court documents.
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.
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.
Another method utilized 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.