A suburban man entered a guilty plea Wednesday to federal charges in connection with a telephone scam out of India that pretended to represent the IRS.
Ashokkumar Patel, 28, of Hoffman Estates, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of money laundering in a federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. He previously lived in Worcester and Plainville, Massachusetts.
Patel, who also goes by Andy, played a role in the scheme from December 2013 to October 2014 in which scammers, primarily located in India, called U.S. residents and told them they owed money to the IRS, prosecutors said.
The residents were told they had to buy prepaid stored value cards worth thousands of dollars and provide their serial numbers, prosecutors said. Then, the money would be transferred to prepaid debit cards, which were used to buy money orders.
Patel bought the prepaid debit cards, using them to purchase money orders and depositing the purchased money orders into various bank accounts, including his own, prosecutors said.
He was taken into custody in June 2017 and released on conditions, and was formally indicted last year, the U.S. attorney’s office said. His sentencing was set for Sept. 23.
The charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.