Five DeKalb men have been sentenced for their roles in an Indian based call center fraud scheme that victimized thousands in the United States resulting in over $3.7 million in losses.
These defendants were involved in a sophisticated scheme organized by co-conspirators in India, including a network of call centers in Ahmedabad, India. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service or individuals offering fictitious payday loans.
Drue Kyle Riggins, 24, of Stone Mountain was sentenced to one year, one month in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $49,640.36 in restitution.
Nicholas Alexander Deane, 26, of Tucker was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $49,640.36 in restitution.
Palak Kumar Patel, 30, Clarkston was sentenced to ten months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $19,142.60 in restitution.
Jantz Parrish Miller, 25, Stone Mountain, was sentenced to eight months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $49,640.36 in restitution.
Devin Bradford Pope, 25, of Chamblee, was sentenced to six months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $49,640.36 in restitution.
“IRS and payday loan phone schemes seek to profit by exploiting United States citizens, including the elderly and most vulnerable members of our community,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said. “As this case shows, we will prosecute companies and individuals in India and in this country who choose to steal from vulnerable victims.”
The call center operators would then threaten potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, or fines if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centers would immediately turn to a network of U.S.-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds by purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers, including through MoneyGram and Western Union, to the attention of fictitious names and U.S.-based defendants and their co-conspirators.
“Victimizing taxpayers by impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees is a serious crime,” Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said. “TIGTA will do everything within its power to ensure that those involved in the impersonation of IRS employees are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These significant sentences should serve as notice to those who engage in this type of criminal activity that they will be held accountable.”
These defendants were charged along with five Indian call centers and seven Indian nationals in a 27-count indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The government is seeking extradition of Indian nationals.