An Indian man has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for allegedly extorting money from Americans using Indian call centers. An American federal judge sentenced Sharvil Patel, 23, to prison and fined him $80,000 in Tampa, Florida, according to NDTV. United States officials have been cracking down on fraudulent Indian call centers recently. Patel became the fourth Indian man to be sentenced in two months involving Indian call centers. Patel and his accomplices pretended to be tax officials to extort money from their victims.
According to court documents obtained by NDTV, Patel used India-based call centers to telephone people in the United States. He told his victims that he was a US tax official with the IRS and they owed taxes. If they didn’t pay, he and his accomplices threatened them with arrest. The suspects then forced the victims to buy prepaid cash cards that were collected by Patel’s employees. The cards were deposited in bank accounts the suspects opened, and the money was withdrawn.
Sharvil Patel’s accomplices, Nishitkumar Patel, 31, was sentenced to 8 years and nine months in prison, while Hemalkumar Shah, 27, was sentenced to eight and a half years, last month. Two non-Indians, who were part of the scam, were also sentenced.
When the police arrested the three men last year, officers found $50,000 in cash, hundreds of bank and wire transfer receipts, and 20 electronic devices.
Since 2013, according to Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, there have been over $15,000 victims who have suffered more than $75 million in losses to telephone scammers pretending to be tax officials.
“Over the last several years, American taxpayers have been subjected to unprecedented attempts to fraudulently obtain money by individuals impersonation internal Revenue Service employees,” George said. “Victimizing taxpayers by impersonating IRS employees is a serious crime.”
Just last year in October, 20 Indian people were convicted for similar crimes. The defendants were given sentences ranging from 4 – 13 years. Some lost their U.S citizenship and were deported.