CASE NAME: United States v. Choksi, et al., criminal case n ° 3: 19-cr-160
TO RESEARCH: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division
SUMMARY OF THE CASE: The remaining defendants in this case, Shehzadkhan Khandakhan Pathan, Pradipsinh Dharmendrasinh Parmar and Sumer Kantilal Patel have each pleaded guilty to offenses related to their participation in a conspiracy to commit mail and electronic fraud. The purpose of this conspiracy was to defraud the victims with money through unsolicited phone calls from a call center in India operated by Pathan. Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for this conspiracy. Defendants Pathan and Parmar also each face an additional mandatory minimum sentence of two years for their aggravated identity theft convictions.
According to court documents, the call center conspirators used pre-recorded robocalls, commonly known as “robocalls”, to contact the victims. These robocalls typically contained messages designed to create a sense of urgency in the recipient of the call, including threats of serious legal issues, usually of a criminal nature, which required immediate action in order to avoid drastic consequences. including an arrest and / or significant financial penalties. Victims would be instructed to stay on the line or call a specific number.
Eventually, victims would speak with one or more live people, who used a variety of scripts incorporating different fraud schemes to persuade victims to send money, including the following scripts:
- The conspirators impersonated an official of a federal law enforcement agency, such as the FBI or the DEA, to convince the victims that they were the subject of criminal investigations, often involving the potential seizure of all financial assets of victims. The conspirators asked the victims to ship packages of cash or pre-loaded payment cards to addresses purportedly used to receive official government mail as a show of good faith in order to avoid immediate arrest and prosecution. The conspirators promised the victims that the money would be refunded, sometimes with interest, if they were ultimately cleared.
- The conspirators also posed as employees of federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service, to convince victims to send packages of pre-loaded cash and / or charge cards, or to transfer funds, in order to maintain or restore their federal benefits. or in payment of alleged tax bills.
- The conspirators also told the victims that they had been approved for loans requiring a down payment or down payment, which the conspirators asked the victims to send by wire transfer through Western Union, MoneyGram or Walmart2Walmart. The typical amount of transfers requested ranged from several hundred dollars to three thousand dollars.
Pathan operated the call center in India through which robocalls and follow-up calls were made. Pathan also recruited, supervised and operated a network of money couriers in the United States who would retrieve victim shipments and wire transfers, and then send the bulk of those funds to conspirators, including Pathan, through deposits in various bank accounts and through informal money transmitters. , known as hawalas. These networks operated in several states, including Virginia, Minnesota, New Jersey, California, Indiana, Texas, and Illinois. Cash shipments to victims were often directed to addresses in those states. Parmar and Patel worked for Pathan as silver mules.
CASE STATUS: Pathan is expected to be sentenced on September 16. Parmar and Patel are expected to be sentenced on September 20.
RESPONSE FROM VICTIMS: To ensure that members of the public, including potential victims of this plot, are kept informed of the progress of this ongoing case, the US Attorney’s Office has created a page on its website, available at the following link : https: //www.justice .gov / usao-edva / united-states-v-chirag-choksi-et-al.
The website currently includes a copy of the second alternate indictment, plea agreements and statements of fact filed in this case with respect to defendants Pathan, Parmar and Patel. Victims who have questions can email the United States Attorney’s Office at USAVAE.DutchParcel@usdoj.gov, listing the case name and case number above. The website includes information for the submission of victim impact statements, which can be emailed or mailed to:
US Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia
Attn: Dutch parcel
919 E. Main Street, Suite 1900
Richmond, Virginia 23219