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New Delhi-based Call Center Owner Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison for Transnational Fraud Scheme

New Delhi-based Call Center Owner Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison for Transnational Fraud Scheme

  • Callers in India impersonated federal employees or local police, netting over $3 million from victims across the U.S.

Ajay Sharma, a call center owner and operator in India, has been sentenced to 78 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a large-scale telemarketing scheme. Additionally, Sharma will pay restitution of over $3 million and forfeiture of over $1 million, according to a Department of Justice press release. Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Sharma, the director and owner of APS Technology, a telemarketing call center located in New Delhi, was a leader and organizer of the fraud scheme. Last month, he pleaded guilty via videoconference to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent scheme directed at thousands of individuals in the United States. 

Between January 2018 and September 2018, operating from call centers in India, Sharma and his co-conspirators targeted victims in the U.S. and falsely claimed to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration or the Drug Enforcement Administration.  

The victims were informed that they owed a sum of money to the United States government or one of its agencies and that they would be arrested if the debts were not promptly paid. After victims wired payments to bank accounts that the defendants had opened in the names of inactive and shell corporations to receive the fraud proceeds, the funds were withdrawn by Sharma and his co-conspirators.

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The scheme is estimated to have netted over $3 million from victims across the United States.

Four of Sharma’s co-conspirators, Ankur Sharma, Armughanul Asar, Harpreet Singh and Jamal Zafar previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Two other co-conspirators, Ricardo Urbino and Kamal Zafar are scheduled for trial in March 2022.  

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