Seven Georgia men were recently sentenced for their involvement in a call center fraud scheme involving elderly victims.
They are from Norcross, Lawrenceville, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Clarkston and Chamblee. Another man, from Texas, was also sentenced.
The scheme was based out of India and victimized thousands in the U.S., resulting in more than $3.7 million in losses. The sentences ranged from six months to four years and nine months in prison.
“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.”
According to Pak, the charges and other information presented in court, the 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.
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.
This occurred through MoneyGram and Western Union using fictitious names, the U.S.-based defendants and their co-conspirators.
“Victimizing taxpayers by impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees is a serious crime,” J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, 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.”
U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown made the following sentences:
♦ Mohamed Kazim Momin, 33, of Norcross – four years and nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The amount of restitution will be determined at a later hearing;
♦ Mohmed Sozab Momin, 23, of Lawrenceville – two years and six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The amount of restitution will be determined at a later hearing;
♦ Drue Kyle Riggins, 24, of Stone Mountain – 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 – 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, of Clarkston – 10 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $19,142.60 in restitution;
♦ Jantz Parrish Miller, 25 of Stone Mountain – eight months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $49,640.36 in restitution;
♦ Devin Bradford Pope, 25, of Chamblee – six months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $49,640.36 in restitution;
♦ Rodrigo Leon-Castillo, 46, of Katy, Texas – four years and three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $833,938.20 in restitution.
The eight 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 the Indian nationals.
The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Brown, Deputy Chief of the Complex Frauds Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jolee Porter prosecuted the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is part of the Department of Justice Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force.
The Strike Force focuses on investigating and prosecuting defendants associated with foreign-based fraud schemes that disproportionately affect American seniors. These include romance scams, phone scams, mass-mailing fraud schemes and tech-support fraud schemes.