Hirenkumar P. Chaudhari, 27, of Des Plaines, IL, pleaded guilty in federal court on Jan. 6, 2021, to laundering cash proceeds from a telemarketing scheme that defrauded elderly victims, an offense punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Northern District of Illinois.
According to the details in the plea agreement, Chaudhari used a phony Indian passport, false name, and false address to open multiple bank accounts in the United States to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme.
The scheme involved phone calls from people falsely claiming to be associated with, among other agencies, the Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Justice, stating that a victim’s identity had been stolen and that it was necessary to transfer money to various bank accounts, including the accounts opened by Chaudhari.
One of the victims was an elderly woman from Massachusetts who transferred a total of more than $900,000 from her bank and retirement accounts to accounts controlled by Chaudhari or others.
On April 19, 2018 – one day after Chaudhari opened an account and received a $7,000 transfer from the Massachusetts victim – Chaudhari entered a bank branch in Chicago and withdrew $6,500, the plea agreement states.
Chaudhari admitted in the plea agreement that he engaged in this financial transaction knowing that the money represented proceeds of unlawful activity.
The sentencing has been set for April 1, 2021.