As many as 15 people, including seven Indians, and five India-based call centers have been indicted in a multimillion-dollar scam that defrauded over 2,000 U.S. citizens, resulting in over $5.5 million in losses, the Department of Justice said on Friday.
The scam involved call center operators who impersonated officials from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or individuals offering payday loans while calling potential victims, using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak said.
Later, they threatened the victims with arrest, imprisonment, or fines for failing to pay taxes or penalties to the government, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Seven individuals were arrested on Thursday in the U.S. Seven co-conspirators and five call-centers based in Ahmedabad were also charged for their alleged involvement.
Network of centers.
The indictment alleged that the accused were involved in a sophisticated scheme organised between 2012 and 2016 by co-conspirators in India, including a network of call centres in Ahmedabad. “IRS and payday loan phone schemes seek to profit by exploiting U.S. citizens, including the most vulnerable members of our community,” Mr. Pak said.
The operators would threaten potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, or fines if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government, the indictment said. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centres would turn to a network of U.S.-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds. The indicted call centres are Excellent Solutions BPO, ADN Infotech Pvt. Ltd, Infoace BPO Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Adore Infosource, Inc and Zurik BPO Services Pvt. Ltd.