- Chaitali Dave and her husband Mehulkumar Manubhai Patel laundered over $500,000 on behalf of India-based phone scammers.
An Indian American couple has been sentenced for laundering over $500,000 on behalf of India-based phone scammers. Chaitali Dave, 36, of Lamar, South Carolina, was sentenced on April 28, to one year, eight months, followed by three years of supervised release, according to the Department of Justice. She was also ordered to pay $320,550 in restitution. Her husband, Mehulkumar Manubhai Patel, was sentenced on Dec. 1, 2020, to two years, six months, to be followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $259,217 in restitution.
Noting that international call centers continue to victimize the elderly and most vulnerable members of our community, Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said that the defendants worked with call centers to prey on and steal from these vulnerable victims. “This case exists as an example of our commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who facilitate foreign-based scams,” he said. “Citizens are reminded never to provide money or personal information to callers they don’t know and trust.”
As part of their Social Security scam, India-based callers posed as federal agents in order to mislead victims into believing their Social Security numbers were involved in crimes, federal prosecutors alleged. The callers threatened arrest and loss of assets if the victims did not send money, they said. The scammers then directed the victims to mail cash to aliases used by other members of the fraud network, including Patel and Dave, the DOJ said.
As part of a tech support scam, the callers also induced victims to send money in the pretext of supposed technical support for their computers. The callers routinely misled the victims by making it appear as though the caller added money to the victims’ bank accounts. The callers then instructed the victims to mail cash to aliases used by other members of the fraud network, including Patel and Dave.
“These convictions should stand as a warning that my office will aggressively investigate and work to hold those accountable who collect and transmit money from Social Security imposter scam victims,” said Gail S Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.