Indian call center operator sentenced to 78 months for transnational fraud

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On Dec. 17, 2021, the federal court in Central Islip, New York, sentenced Ajay Sharma, a citizen of India, to 78 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a large-scale telemarketing scheme.

The Court also ordered Sharma to pay restitution of $3,266,714, and forfeiture in the amount of $1,005,421, a press release from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation unit said.

Sharma was sentenced by United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack. The sentence was announced by Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York.

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“Today’s sentence demonstrates that defendants like Ajay Sharma, who perpetrate transnational fraud schemes through lies and by instilling fear in their victims, will be brought to justice and pay for their crimes,” Peace is quoted saying in the press release.

“Ajay Sharma received a just sentence this morning for relentlessly stealing millions of dollars from innocent Americans by posing as Federal employees,” Fattorusso said. “IRS Criminal Investigation is determined to dismantle these criminal enterprises who victimize hard working United States citizens for personal gain. IRS-CI will continue to protect our financial system from fraudsters both abroad and here at home.”

Sharma, as the director and owner of APS Technology, was the leader and organizer of the fraud scheme, authorities said.

Between January 2018 and September 2018, operating from call centers in India, Sharma and his co-conspirators targeted victims in the United States and falsely claimed to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The victims were informed that they owed a sum of money to the United States government, or one of its agencies, and that they would be arrested if the debts were not promptly paid. After victims wired payments to bank accounts that the defendants had opened in the names of inactive and shell corporations to receive the fraud proceeds, the funds were withdrawn by Sharma and his co-conspirators.

Four of Sharma’s co-conspirators, Ankur Sharma, Armughanul Asar, Harpreet Singh and Jamal Zafar previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Two other co-conspirators, Ricardo Urbino and Kamal Zafar are scheduled for trial in March 2022. Charles P. Kelly and Madeline O’Connor are in charge of the prosecution.

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