US authorities have indicted six individuals, namely, Vikas Mehta, Walter Valdivia, Pradip Parikh, Jaime Salas, Alpesh Patel and Darash Shah, for wire fraud and ML. The defendants defrauded several victims in the US, including many elderly people. They used either robocall recordings misrepresenting themselves as US government officials or emails misrepresenting themselves as officials from legitimate companies. The recordings and emails provided callback numbers, which connected the victims to scammers. Some of the scammers were based in India.
When assuming the identity of government officials, the scammers attempted to convince the victims that they were in some type of trouble with government authorities. For instance, the scammers would try to convince the victim that their Social Security Number was compromised and they would be arrested if they did not make a payment immediately. When pretending to work for a company, the scammers tried to convince the victims that the company owed them a refund. The scammers would then ask the victims to download a computer software through which they gained unauthorized remote access to the victims’ computers. They would then deceive the victims by making it appear as though they had accidentally refunded excess money which the victims now had to pay back to avoid legal consequences.
In both the schemes, the scammers asked the scared victims to withdraw, package and ship cash to an address, purchase gift cards and provide the codes on the back of the cards, wire money to the bank accounts of shell companies under the defendants’ names, etc. Upon receiving the money, the defendants laundered it through their many bank accounts.
Source: US Department of Justice