IRS Call Scammers Sentenced in Texas

Back in 2016 we blogged about a major set of arrests in India and the United States related to a call center scam imitating the IRS.  (See “Major Call Center Scam Revealed – 56 Indicted“)

This post is to just share an update on that case.  There have been so many arrests made and yet the fraud continues every day!  I received two IRS calls myself in the past week!

To begin, the IRS is NEVER going to call you and threaten arrest.  If you receive such a call, the investigative agency for IRS scams is TIGTA, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. You can call their scam hotline to report at 1.800.366.4484, or share details online at the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form.  All of the arrests below started because someone reported their scammers.  Although the form seems to be focused on people who actually lost money, even non-loss reports can be helpful.

The biggest round of arrests came in October 27, 2016, which was the focus of that “Major Call Center Scam” blog post.  The DOJ press release was titled “Dozens of Individuals Indicted in Multimillion-Dollar Indian Call Center Scam Targeting U.S. Victims
Over the next several months, many of the criminals pled guilty.  All but two were from India, although several were now American citizens.  Each has now been sentenced for their crimes in a mass sentencing before Judge Hittner in Houston, Texas.  Below, we show their guilty plea date, where they were living and/or conducting their crime, and what the DOJ/TIGTA press release said about their guilty plea.  We feel that the sentences were fair, ranging from just over four years to 188 months (15 1/2 years).  

Just wanted to share that EVENTUALLY, Justice is served.

However, PLEASE KEEP REPORTING!  There certainly are more IRS-imitating criminals who need to go to prison!

Bharatkumar Patel (April 13, 2017) – a resident of Midlothian, Illinois – sentenced to 50 months in prison and removal to India. 


According to his plea, beginning in or about July 2013, Patel worked as a member of a crew of runners operating in the Chicago area and elsewhere throughout the country. Patel admitted to purchasing reloadable cards or retrieving wire transfers and using the misappropriated personal identifying information of U.S. citizens. Patel also admitted to opening personal bank accounts in order to receive scam proceeds and payments from defrauded victims as well as creating limited liability companies in his name to further the conspiracy. According to his plea, Patel opened one bank account that received more than $1.5 million in deposits over a one-year period and another bank account that received more than $450,000 in deposits over a five-month period.

Ashvinbhai Chaudhari (April 26, 2017) – a resident of Austin, Texas. – sentenced to 87 months in prison.


According to his plea, since in or about April 2014, Chaudhari worked as a member of a crew of runners operating in Illinois, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and elsewhere throughout the country. At the direction of both U.S. and India-based co-conspirators, often via electronic WhatsApp text communications, Chaudhari admitted to driving around the country with other runners to purchase reloadable cards registered with misappropriated personal identifying information of U.S. citizens. Once victim scam proceeds were loaded onto those cards, Chaudhari admitted that he liquidated the proceeds on the cards and transferred the funds into money orders for deposit into various bank accounts while keeping a percentage of the victim funds for himself. Chaudhari also admitted to shipping money orders purchased with victim funds to other U.S. based co-conspirators, receiving fake identification documents from an India-based co-conspirator and using those documents to receive victim scam payments via wire transfers.


Harsh Patel (May 11, 2017) – a resident of Piscataway, New Jersey. – sentenced to 82 months in prison and deportation after his sentence.


According to his plea, since around January 2015, Patel worked as a runner operating primarily in New Jersey, California and Illinois. At the direction of India-based co-conspirators, often via electronic WhatsApp text communications, Patel admitted to purchasing reloadable cards registered with misappropriated personal identifying information of U.S. citizens. Once victim scam proceeds were loaded onto those cards, Patel admitted that he liquidated the proceeds on the cards and transferred the funds into money orders for deposit into various bank accounts while keeping a percentage of the victim funds for himself. Patel also admitted to receiving fake identification documents from an India-based co-conspirator and other sources and using those documents to receive victim scam payments via wire transfers.


Nilam Parikh (May 18, 2017) – a resident of Pelham, Alabama – sentenced to 48 months in prison 


Since around December 2013, Parikh worked as a runner operating in Alabama.  In connection with her plea, Parikh admitted that, at the direction of an India-based co-conspirator, often via electronic WhatsApp text communications, Parikh purchased reloadable cards registered with misappropriated personal identifying information of U.S. citizens.  Once victim scam proceeds were loaded onto those cards, Parikh admitted that she liquidated the proceeds on the cards and transferred the funds into money orders for deposit into various bank accounts, while keeping part of the victim funds for herself as payment.  Parikh also admitted to sending and receiving scam proceeds to and from her co-conspirators via Federal Express.


Information on the next five all came from the same DOJ Press Release: “Five More Defendants Please Guilty for their Roles in Multimillion Dollar India-Based Call Center Scam Targeting U.S. Victims” 


Dilipkumar A. Patel (May 26, 2017) – a resident of Corona, California – sentenced to 108 months in prison and removal to India. 


Based on the admissions made in his May 26 guilty plea, since late 2013, Dilipkumar A. Patel operated as a runner in and around Southern California, along with other co-defendants based in the region. At the direction of India-based co-conspirators, often via electronic WhatsApp communications, Patel admitted to participating in the purchase of reloadable cards registered with the PII of U.S. citizens, and the subsequent liquidation of victim scam funds loaded to those cards by co-conspirators, while keeping a percentage of the victim funds on the cards for himself. 


Fahad Ali (May 26, 2017) – a resident of Dyer, Indiana (from Pakistan) – sentenced to 108 months in prison 


According to his guilty plea, also on May 26, beginning in or around 2013, Fahad Ali worked as a member of a crew of runners operating in the Chicago, Illinois area, the Southern District of Texas and elsewhere throughout the country. Ali admitted that he first served as a driver for an Illinois-based co-defendant engaging in activities in furtherance of the conspiracy. Ali later operated at the direction of that co-defendant and others, via various means of communication, including text messages, to purchase reloadable cards, and then liquidate victim scam proceeds placed on those cards by India-based co-conspirators, in exchange for recurring payments. Ali also admitted to using false identification documents to receive wire transfers from victims of the fraud.


Hardik Patel (June 2, 2017) – a resident of Arlington Heights, Illinois – sentenced to 188 months in prison and removal to India upon completion of the sentence.

Based on the statements in his June 2 guilty plea, beginning in August 2012, Hardik Patel owned and managed the day-to-day operations of an India-based scam call center before later leaving for the U.S. While in India, in his capacity as a manager, Hardik Patel communicated extensively via email, text, and other means with various India-based co-defendants to operate the scheme and exchange scripts used in the scheme, coordinate the processing of payments from scammed victims, obtain and exchange lead lists used by callers to target U.S. victims, and exchange spreadsheets containing the personal identifying information (PII) of U.S. persons misappropriated by the scammers to register reloadable cards used in the scheme. Hardik Patel also managed worker payroll and kept detailed records of profits and expenses for various associated scam call centers. Hardik Patel continued to communicate with India-based co-defendants about the scheme and assist with the conspiracy after he moved to the U.S. 



Rajubhai Patel (June 2, 2017) – a resident of Willowbrook, Illinois – sentenced to 151 months in prison 


According to his June 6 guilty plea, Rajubhai Patel operated as a runner and assisted a co-defendant in managing the activities of a crew of other runners, based primarily out of Illinois, who liquidated victim funds in various locales in the U.S. for conspirators from India-based call centers. Rajubhai Patel communicated about the liquidation of scam funds via electronic WhatsApp communications with domestic and India-based co-defendants, purchased reloadable cards registered using the misappropriated PII of U.S. citizens that were later used to receive victims’ funds, and used those cards to purchase money orders and deposit them into various bank accounts of co-defendants and others as directed. Rajubhai Patel also admitted to creating and maintaining spreadsheets that detailed deposits, payments to co-conspirators, expenses and profits from the scheme.


Viraj Patel (June 2, 2017) – a resident of Anaheim, California – sentenced to 165 months in prison and removal to India.


According to admissions made in his June 2 guilty plea, Viraj Patel first became involved in the conspiracy between April and September 2013, prior to entering the U.S., when he worked at and assisted with overseeing the operations of a call center in India engaging in scam activity at the behest of a co-defendant. After entering the U.S., beginning in December 2014 Viraj Patel engaged in additional activities in support of the scheme in exchange for a cut of the profits, including serving as a processor of scam victim payments and as a runner engaging in the purchase and liquidation of cards loaded with victim scam funds. Viraj Patel communicated with various India-and U.S.-based co-defendants in furtherance of the conspiracy, and also obtained and circulated lead lists to his co-conspirators containing the PII of U.S. citizens for use by the call centers in targeting victims of the various fraud schemes and to register reloadable cards used to launder the proceeds of the schemes.  


Bhavesh Patel (July 7, 2017) – a resident of Gilbert, Arizona and Alabama – sentenced to 121 months in prison.


According to Bhavesh Patel’s guilty plea, beginning in or around January 2014, Bhavesh Patel managed the activities of a crew of runners, directing them to liquidate victim scam funds in areas in and around south and central Arizona per the instructions of conspirators from India-based call centers. Patel communicated via telephone about the liquidation of scam funds with both domestic and India-based co-defendants, and he and his crew used reloadable cards containing funds derived from victims by scam callers to purchase money orders and deposit them into various bank accounts as directed, in return for percentage-based commissions from his India-based co-defendants. Patel also admitted to receiving and using fake identification documents, including phony driver’s licenses, to retrieve victim scam payments in the form of wire transfers, and providing those fake documents to persons he managed for the same purpose.


Asmitaben Patel (July 7, 2017) – a resident of Willowbrook, Illinois – (previously sentenced to 24 months) 


Based on admissions in Asmitaben Patel’s guilty plea, beginning in or around July 2013, Asmitaben Patel served as a runner liquidating victim scam funds as part of a group of conspirators operating in and around the Chicago area. At the direction of a co-defendant, Patel used stored value cards that had been loaded with victim funds to buy money orders and deposit them into various bank accounts, including the account of a lead generating business in order to pay the company for leads it provided to co-conspirators that were ultimately used to facilitate the scam.


The next seven criminals guilty pleas were announced by the Department of Justice on November 13, 2017 in their press release:  “Last Defendant in the United States Pleads Guilty in Multimillion Dollar India-Based Call Center Scam Targeting U.S. Victims


Miteshkumar Patel (November 13, 2017) – a resident of Willowbrook, Illinois – sentenced to 240 months.


Based on admissions in Miteshkumar Patel’s plea, beginning in or around 2013, Miteshkumar Patel managed a crew of a half dozen domestic runners involved in the criminal scheme, liquidating as much as approximately $25 million in victim funds for conspirators from India-based call center and organizational co-defendant HGLOBAL.  Patel communicated about the fraudulent scheme with various domestic and India-based co-defendants via email, text messaging and WhatsApp messaging.  Miteshkumar Patel and his runners purchased reloadable GPR cards that were registered using the misappropriated personal identifying information (PII) of unsuspecting victims that were later used to receive victims’ funds, and used those reloadable cards containing victims’ funds to purchase money orders and then deposit those money orders into bank accounts, as directed, while keeping a portion of the scam proceeds as profit.  Miteshkumar Patel also trained the runners he managed on how to conduct the liquidation scheme, provided them with vehicles to conduct their activities in Illinois and throughout the country, and directed a co-defendant to open bank accounts and limited liability companies for use in the conspiracy.  Miteshkumar Patel further admitted to using a gas station he owned in Racine, Wisconsin to liquidate victim funds, and possessing and using equipment at his Illinois apartment to make fraudulent identification documents used by co-defendant runners in his crew to receive wire transfers directly from scam victims and make bank deposits in furtherance of the conspiracy.


Raman Patel (age 82) (November 13, 2017) – a resident of Gilbert, Arizona – (previously sentenced in Phoenix, Arizona to probation, in consideration of his age and his cooperation.)

According to admissions in Raman Patel’s guilty plea, from in or around 2014, Patel served as a domestic runner in and around south-central Arizona, liquidating victim scam funds per the instructions of a co-defendant.  Patel also served as a driver for two co-defendants in furtherance of their GPR liquidation and related activities and sent bank deposit receipts related to the processing of victim payments and fraud proceeds to an India-based co-defendant via email and document scan services offered at various retail stores.

Sunny Joshi of Sugar Land, Texas – sentenced to 151 months in prison for money laundering conspiracy, and 120 months in prison for naturalization fraud.

Rajesh Bhatt of Sugar Land, Texas – sentenced to 145 months in prison and removal to India.


Based on admissions in Joshi and Bhatt’s guilty pleas, beginning in or around 2012, Joshi and Bhatt worked together as runners in the Houston, Texas area along with a co-defendant.  They admitted to extensively communicating via email and text with, and operating at the direction of, India-based conspirators from organizational co-defendant CALL MANTRA call center to liquidate up to approximately $9.5 million in victim funds, including by purchasing GPR cards and using those cards, funded by co-conspirators with scam victim funds, to purchase money orders and deposit them in third party bank accounts, while keeping a percentage of the scam proceeds for themselves as profit.  Joshi has also agreed to plead guilty to one count of naturalization fraud pursuant to a federal indictment obtained against him in the Eastern District of Louisiana, based on fraudulently obtaining his U.S. citizenship.


Jagdishkumar Chaudhari of Montgomery, Alabama – sentenced to 108 months in prison and removal to India.


Jagdishkumar Chaudhari admitted in his plea that between April 2014 and June 2015, he worked as a member of a crew of runners operating in the Chicago area and elsewhere throughout the country, at the direction of Miteshkumar Patel and others.  In exchange for monthly cash payments, Jagdishkumar Chaudhari admitted to driving to hundreds of retail stores to purchase GPR cards to be loaded with victim funds by co-conspirators in India, purchasing money orders with GPR cards that had been funded with victim proceeds, depositing money orders purchased using victim scam proceeds at various banks, and retrieving wire transfers sent by victims of the scheme.  Jagdishkumar Chaudhari is an Indian national with no legal status in the United States, and has agreed to deportation after he serves his sentence as a condition of his guilty plea.


Praful Patel of Fort Myers, Florida – sentenced to 60 months in prison 


In his plea, Praful Patel admitted that between in or around June 2013 and December 2015, he was a domestic runner who liquidated funds in and around Fort Myers, Florida for conspirators from India-based call center and organizational co-defendant HGLOBAL.  Praful Patel communicated extensively via WhatsApp texts with his conspirators.  For a percentage commission on transactions he conducted, Praful Patel admitted to purchasing reloadable GPR cards that were registered using the misappropriated PII of unsuspecting victims that were later used to receive victims’ funds, using those reloadable GPR cards containing victims’ funds to purchase money orders and depositing those money orders into bank accounts as directed, and using fake identity documents to receive wire transfers from victims.


Jerry Norris of Oakland, California – sentenced to 60 months in prison 


According to Norris’ guilty plea, beginning in or around January 2013 continuing through December 2014, he was a runner who worked with conspirators associated with India-based call center and organizational co-defendant HGLOBAL, and was responsible for the liquidation of victim scam funds in and around California.  Norris admitted he communicated extensively via WhatsApp and email with India-based co-defendants including Sagar “Shaggy” Thakar, purchased GPR cards used in the scheme, sent lead lists to conspirators in India that were then used by callers located in the call centers to target potential victims in the telefraud scheme, received scam proceeds via wire transfers using fictitious names, and laundered scam proceeds from GPR cards via ATM withdrawals.


Others sentenced whose guilty pleas were not mentioned above include: 


Montu Barot – 60 months in prison and removal to India after sentence

Rajesh Kumar – 60 months in prison 


Nilesh Pandya – sentenced to three years probation 


Dilipkumar R. Patel of Florida – sentenced to 52 months in prison 


Nisarg Patel of New Jersey – sentenced to 48 months in prison and removal to India.


Dipakkumar Patel, of Illinois, was sentenced to 51 months by Judge Eleanor Ross in Atlanta, Georgia.





*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from CyberCrime & Doing Time authored by Gary Warner, UAB. Read the original post at: http://garwarner.blogspot.com/2018/09/irs-call-scammers-sentenced-in-texas.html