WASHINGTON: A US attorney has said India’s Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) and the Delhi Police have helped the FBI in busting a major trans-national scam that duped thousands of Americans, mostly senior citizens, of millions of dollars in about 10 years on the pretext of providing them with tech-support, reports PTI.
Harshad Madaan, 34, from New Delhi and Vikash Gupta, 33, from Faridabad, were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Delhi Police this week. The third Indian Gagan Lamba, 41, from New Delhi remains at large.
All are charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and substantive violations of wire fraud and computer fraud.
US Attorney Philip R Sellinger, in a statement, thanked CBI and the Delhi Police for their assistance in busting this trans-national tech support scam. Indian-American, Meghana Kumar, 50, pleaded guilty to the charges this week.
Jayant Bhatia, 33, of Ontario has been arrested by Canadian authorities. Kulwinder Singh, 34, of Richmond Hill, New York, has been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
Bhatia has been charged with offenses related to his participation in a high-tech fraud scheme
The indictment alleges that all six Indians and persons of Indian origin used access to personal computers to run a high-tech extortion scheme on a global scale.
Tech-support scams and other consumer fraud schemes that frequently target elderly or vulnerable citizens are particularly egregious crimes, said Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero, Newark Field Office, Philadelphia Division, said.
The indictment alleges that from 2012 through November 2022, they were members of a criminal fraud ring that operated a technical support fraud scheme in the United States, India, and Canada.
The scheme targeted victims across the United States and Canada, including New Jersey, many of whom were elderly.
The primary objective was to trick victims into believing that their personal computers were infected with a virus or malware and then convince the victims to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to the fraud ring for phony computer repair services.
Over the course of the conspiracy, the fraud ring generated more than USD 10 million in proceeds from at least 20,000 victims, federal prosecutors said.