News India Times

Several Indian-Americans arrested in IRS impersonation scam which likely originated in India

Four men of Indian origin, were arrested over the last week, suspected of conducting the  widespread scam of impersonating Internal Revenue Service agents to bilk innocent taxpayers, many of them Indian-Americans.

United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that pursuant to criminal complaints and arrest warrants issued by a United States Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the following men were arrested by local and federal law enforcement –  Moin Gohil, 22, of Dunwoody, Georgia, was arrested by local law enforcement authorities on November 24;  Pratik Patel, 26, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Parvez Jiwani, 39, of Tucker, Georgia, and Nakul Chetiwal, 27, of Dunwoody, Georgia, were arrested on Nov. 28. by federal law enforcement authorities.

All of these arrests were based on charges of violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343, 1349, 2 (Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, and Aiding and Abetting).  Each of these charges carries a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaint, Gohil, Chetiwal, and Jiwani were “runners” who used fraudulent identification cards to pick up fraud proceeds for a scheme likely originating from India, authorities said.

Patel aided and abetted at least one of the runners.  In this scheme, which is sometimes referred to as an “IRS impersonation scheme,” members of the scheme (likely in India) call victims and make misrepresentations (typically, that the victim owes taxes) and cause the victims to wire money through a wire service, such as MoneyGram.

Other members of the conspiracy (known as “runners”), such as Gohil, Chetiwal, and Jiwani, then use fraudulent identification cards to pick up the fraud proceeds.

According to the complaint, Gohil, Chetiwal, and Jiwani picked up $666,537 sent from 784 victims during the period from January 25, 2016, through August 8, this year.  The false identities used by Gohil, Chetiwal, and Jiwani are linked to an additional 6,530 fraudulent transactions totaling $2,836,745.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.