An Indian-American has been sentenced to 51 months in jail by a US court for operating a fictitious social security scam targeting senior citizens throughout the country.
Aakash Kalpesh Gandhi and his co-conspirators operating from call centers based in India targeted unsuspecting victims claiming that those victims would suffer financial ruin or criminal liability if they did not immediately send money to correct fictional problems often involving the victim's social security benefits.
To enhance the viability of the scheme, co-conspirators fraudulently identified themselves as government agents to their unsuspecting victims, the Department of Justice said.
US District Judge Marcia Crone in the Eastern District of Texas ordered Gandhi to pay restitution to his victims, many of whom are elderly.
The exact amount has not yet been determined, the Department of Justice said.
"Scoundrels like Gandhi take advantage of our senior citizens and he was part of a very large network that houses hundreds of callers who spend their days calling and scamming. When in doubt about a possible scam call or email, contact someone you trust and ask them if the call is legitimate or contact your local law enforcement," said US Attorney Brit Featherston.
"Gandhi's scam would have been thwarted if a victim would have simply googled 'social security phone scams,' and the very quick search result would show the phone call was a scam. Preventing someone from being a victim is a lot easier than trying to recover the stolen money after the fact," he said.
Federal prosecutors said Gandhi and his co-conspirators operated a scheme designed to defraud victims throughout the United States.
According to court papers, Gandhi tracked currency shipments for the conspiracy and recovered packages of United States currency shipped by those who had been victimised by the scheme, including victims within the Eastern District of Texas.
Gandhi would receive a fee from a portion of the contents of those packages and deliver the remaining currency to co-conspirators.
A majority of the funds were ultimately distributed to various locations in India. Gandhi was indicted by a federal grand jury in Beaumont on July 8, 2021.
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