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Indian American Man Pleads Guilty in International Conspiracy to Defraud Elderly Victims
Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel has pleaded guilty to participating in an international conspiracy where he helped collect more than $500,000 in cash conned out of elderly victims.
HI INDIA NEWS DESK
LOS ANGELES, CA- The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California recently announced that Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel has pleaded guilty to participating in an international conspiracy where he helped collect more than $500,000 in cash conned out of elderly victims.
The news release said the 31-year-old Lake Elsinore Indian American resident fulfilled the scheme by other co-conspirators pretending to be federal agents threatening the victims with arrest on bogus warrants.
Patel pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, it said.
According to his plea agreement, from April 2019 to March 2020, Patel participated in an international conspiracy that deceived elderly victims out of their money. Other members of the conspiracy, some of whom are believed to be in India, telephoned victims and pretended to be government employees or law enforcement officers, the attorney’s office said.
Using several false pretenses – including phony badge numbers and using spoofed government telephone numbers – the co-conspirators convinced the victims, most of whom were elderly, that their identities or assets were in trouble, it said.
Some victims were told that their Social Security numbers had been linked to crimes and that there were warrants issued by courts authorizing the victims’ arrests. The co-conspirators further told the victims that to clear the warrants, they should withdraw their savings and send cash by mail to other members of the scheme, the release adds.
The victims were ordered to send the parcels through shipping companies that allowed parcel recipients to pick up parcel so long as the recipients had identification matching the names listed on the parcel as the addressees.
The addresses the defendants gave primarily were at locations in Riverside County, but also in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, it said.
Patel admitted he used tracking numbers to monitor the victims’ parcels, and communicated with couriers who used fraudulent identification documents matching the names listed on the parcels as addresses. Patel also admitted to receiving or intending to receive 18 packages sent by victims, the attorney’s office adds.
The total loss, in this case, is approximately $541,420 and Patel admitted the scheme involved at least 10 victims, many of whom he knew were vulnerable people, it said.
Patel’s next hearing is scheduled for June 28. The criminal could face up to 20 years in federal prison.