An Illinois man of Indian origin, who previously lived in Massachusetts, was sentenced Sept. 15, 2020, in connection with a wire fraud scheme whereby victims were told they owed money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Ashok Kumar Patel, a/k/a Andy Patel, 30, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and formerly of Worcester and Plainville, Mass., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 40 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the victims in an amount to be determined, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
Patel pleaded guilty in June 2019, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
From December 2013 to October 2014, Patel was part of a conspiracy in which victims in the United States were contacted by individuals, primarily in India, and falsely told that they owed money to the IRS.
The victims were told that in order to avoid imminent arrest they had to purchase MoneyPak, or other types of prepaid stored value cards, load thousands of dollars onto the cards and provide the serial numbers to the callers.
After doing so, the victims’ money was quickly transferred to prepaid debit cards, such as Green Dot Debit Cards, which were then used to purchase money orders.
Patel was responsible for purchasing the prepaid debit cards, using them to purchase money orders and then depositing the purchased money orders into various bank accounts, including his own.
The loss amount to victims tied to Patel totaled $881,622.