Pennsylvania Man Receives Long Prison Sentence for Wire Fraud
A Pennsylvania man was recently sentenced to 14 ½ years in prison after being found guilty in helping to coordinate an international wire fraud scheme. The 36-year-old man, Sahil Patel, was found guilty of four charges, including conspiring to impersonate government officials and to commit wire fraud. He was also ordered to pay $1 million in fines.
The scheme reportedly made use of “call centers” located in India, where Patel’s fellow conspirators would place phone calls to hundreds of different U.S. citizens pretending to be tax agents or federal law enforcement officers. They would threaten to fine or arrest victims unless they sent payments. To add a sense of legitimacy to their calls, they used a type of software that made it possible for it to look like their calls were coming from actual government phone numbers — in some cases the exact phone number of major U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Patel’s role in the scheme was developing lead sheets with the names and contact information of potential victims, and then sending them to his Indian call centers. He also was able to coerce people into applying for debit cards, which would then be used to receive payments from the victims. He reportedly managed to launder more than $1 million through those debit cards.
One official from the U.S. Department of the Treasury said scams like Patel’s generate approximately 9,000 to 12,000 complaints to federal officials each week. With Patel being sent behind bars, investigators will turn their attention toward other similar cases.
If you have been accused of any type of fraud, you do have legal options available to protect your rights. Contact experienced Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman for more information.