Robocall scammers sentenced in US after netting $1.2M via India-based call centers
Part of network of crims who used 'trickery and threats' to target elderly
Two Indian nationals have each received 41-month prison sentences in the United States for their involvement in a $1.2 million robocall scam targeting the elderly, according to New Jersey prosecutors on Tuesday.
Arushobike Mitra and Garbita Mitra (no relation, just coincidence) both previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud before receiving their sentences in a Newark federal court.
In addition to time in the clink, they were ordered to pay $835,324 in restitution and undergo three years of supervised release.
The duo were US residents and allegedly part of a larger network in which India-based call centers used automated robocalls to contact US residents. After establishing contact, criminal coworkers would trick victims into sending large sums of cash via physical shipments or wire transfers to members of the network.
Some of the tactics allegedly employed by the duo and their team included impersonating government officials from law enforcement or government agencies like the Social Security Administration and threatening legal or financial consequences if the victim did not comply with their demands. The scammers would also impersonate tech support to trick the victim into giving them remote access to their computers and even their bank accounts.
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The Mitras themselves acted as money mules, individuals who would pick up and transfer cash shipments for a cut, in Florida and New Jersey, according to court filings [PDF]. They allegedly opened bank accounts in both states between May and November 2019 to receive payments. The court determined a total of 48 victims had transferred money ranging from $9,500 to $50,000 each to make up the $1.2 million.
According to call blocking firm Robokiller, the number of robocalls Americans receive has overall been trending downward, having hit an estimated 7.46 billion in October 2022 and declined to 5.67 billion last month.
However, even if the nuisances are on the decline, the firm predicts [PDF] that losses from scam robocalls in 2023 are likely to total a value near 2022's value of $65 billion. ®