6 NRIs from New Jersey charged in $120,000 phony IRS phone scam

Half a dozen Indian Americans in Jersey City, N.J., were arrested in connection with an IRS telephone scam that scored the group more than $120,000 on May 17. According to Middlesex County Prosecutors Andrew Carey, Ronak Butani, 24; Jay Kakadiya, 24; Akashkumar Chovatiya, 23; Divyesh Patel, 23; Jagdishkumar Patel, 22; and Brijeshkumar Parmar, 26, were charged with multiple counts of money laundering and conspiracy, NJ.com reported.

Local, county and federal investigators discovered that the group of Indian Americans called people and told them that they owed hefty sums of money in taxes. If they didn’t pay up, they would be arrested, the fake IRS callers would say, according to the report.

Authorities said that the callers would tell the people on the other end of the line to purchase gift cards at retail stores in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Once purchased, the callers instructed the people to read the gift card numbers over the phone to make purchases, NJ.com reported.

The group allegedly also told victims in some cases their family members had been arrested and needed money for lawyer fees or bond, the report said, citing the prosecutor’s news release. Carey said people in India were involved in the scam, it added.

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