Strangley, that 1600 square foot duplex claims to have seven current residents, according to WhitePages.com, including Shachi!
According to their Facebook pages, Shachi moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2013. (The “moved” actually says 2016, but she says in her comments “I actually moved here in 2013, Facebook is just acting weird.”) Sadly for the family, the parents who are now headed to prison, posted photos of their newborn baby in January 2019.
The Mule Recruiter: Shehzadkan Pathan
The co-conspirator, Shehzadkhan Khandakhan Pathan, goes by the name Shehzad Khan on Facebook and, like his Facebook friend Chirag, is from Ahmedabad, India. He was arrested by the FBI in Houston, Texas on January 16, 2020 and taken into custody by the US Marshall’s Service.
|Shehzadkhan Khan Pathan|
In fact the similarities are extreme. In that case, the primary call centers involved included a major group in Ahmedabad India, but had money mule “runners” all over the United States, who not only handled financial transactions, but also sought out victim candidates!
Not only are the cases STRUCTURALLY similar, but Pathan SEEMS to be linked to one of the key players in that network on Facebook. Pathan’s Facebook friend “Hardik Dave” who is likely Hardik Patel, also from Ahmedabad, from the previous case. Although Hardik’s friends marked as private, but has several interactions on his Facebook page from “Hitesh Patel” who was at the core of the 2016 case. In that case, Ahmedabad call center companies including Call Mantra, Sharma BPO, Worldwide Solutions, and Zoriion Communications were involved in the scams.
A superseding indictment relating to Pathan was announced June 17, 2020, and names several additional co-conspirators.
In addition to Chirag and Shachi, the new indictment includes:
- Pradipsinh Dharmendrasinh Parmar
- Sumer Kantilal Patel
- Jayeshkumar Prabhudas Deliwala
In the new indictment we learn that the “conspirators regularly communicated using WhatsApp Messenger.” We also learn additional details about the scam calls:
“The messages told the recipients that they had some sort of serious legal problem. Often the purported problem related to potential criminal charges for the victim, tax problems, or THE RISK OF LOSING A FEDERAL BENEFITS PROGRAM SUCH AS SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS.” (emphasis added)
We also learn that a number of the victims had recently applied for a loan, making them aware that the victim now had cash available!
Pathan, the recruiter, provided the counterfeit identity documents, including fake drivers licenses, and alerted his mule network where the package was being delivered and which identity they should use to retrieve the package. After they had the cash, Pathan would let them know how much they could keep and give them details of what bank account they should deposit the additional funds into. In some cases the funds were sent via wire transfer, and Pathan would alert his money mules via WhatsApp where the money had been wired and which identity documents they would need to present in order to pick up the money from the bank account where they had been deposited.
More Mules: Parmar, Patel
Both Pradipsinh Dharmendrasinh Parmar and Sumer Kantilal Patel were money mules like Chirag. They are charged with retrieving and signing for packages of cash, photographing or videoing themselves opening the packages and counting the cash, receiving and using counterfeit identification bearing their likeness but the name of another person, and picking up money transfers via Western Union, MoneyGram, and Walmart to Walmart, and resending portions of that amount to other locations.
Pradispsinh Parmar is also Facebook friends with Pathan, and also from Ahmedabad, India. His Facebook page says he lives in Spotswood, New Jersey. HIS Facebook friend Sumer Patel is not friends with any of the other co-conspirators and may be a name coincidence as he seems to be in Brisbane, Australia.
Parmar, for example, picked up a package containing $20,000 cash sent to the name of “Neon Fredo” at 55 Stratford Village, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Parmar also picked up a MoneyGram of $820 sent from a victim to the name of Larry A Lauzon, in North Carolina. (Because he had the reference number, it was not necessarily picked up in that location.)
Patel similarly received Walmart-to-Walmart funds, including funds sent from Texas to “Caleb N Cranstone” in Virginia.
Deliwala received and distributed a set of 20 counterfeit identification documents.
Charges in the case include:
18 U.S. Code § 1341 – Mail fraud
18 U.S. Code § 1343 – Wire fraud
18 U.S. Code § 1349 – Attempt and conspiracy
18 U.S. Code § 982 – Criminal forfeiture