Indian National Ripped off Americans/Others for Millions via Call Center Scam

He was on the run and we tracked him down in Singapore.

If you’ve ever gotten one of those calls where someone tells you they are from the IRS and you owe money, surely you hung up! However thousands of gullible people did not hang up and sent this Indian crook their hard-earned money.

Well one more of the international crooks ripping us off will now be behind bars.

Thanks to reader Charles for tipping me off about this story, here is the US Justice Department news about Hitesh Madhubhai Patel aka Hitesh Hinglaj, 43, of Ahmedabad, India:

(By the way, I like the fact that we are now seeing mention of the nationality of crooks more prominently mentioned sparing us from having to spend time playing the secret decoder ring game with the criminal’s name.)

Indian national convicted of role in call center scam that victimized thousands in the U.S.

HOUSTON – An Indian national has entered a guilty plea for his role in operating and funding India-based call centers which defrauded thousands of victims out of millions of dollars between 2013 and 2016.

Hitesh Madhubhai Patel aka Hitesh Hinglaj, 43, of Ahmedabad, India, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as well as a general conspiracy to commit identification fraud, access device fraud, money laundering and to impersonate a federal officer or employee.

“Hitesh Patel played a prominent role in this massive, India-based fraud scheme that bilked vulnerable Americans out of millions of dollars,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This important resolution would not have occurred without the assistance of our Singaporean colleagues, to whom we extend our deep appreciation.”

Patel and his conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which employees from call centers in Ahmedabad, India, impersonated officials from the IRS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They also engaged in other telephone call scams designed to defraud victims throughout the United States. U.S. victims were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay alleged monies owed to the government.

An image of a call center at a website that also reported this news entitled: ‘Financial Fraud News’. https://www.financialfraudnews.com/indian-national-convicted-of-role-in-call-center-scam-that-victimized-thousands-in-the-u-s/

Those who fell victim to the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards or wiring money. Upon payment, the call centers would immediately turn to a network of “runners” based in the United States to liquidate and launder the fraudulently-obtained funds.

In his plea, Patel admitted to operating and funding several India-based call centers from which the fraud schemes were perpetrated, including organizational co-defendant call center HGLOBAL. Patel frequently corresponded by email and WhatsApp messaging with co-defendants to exchange credit card numbers, telephone scam scripts, deposit slips, payment information, call center operations information, instructions and bank account information. The scripts included impersonation of IRS, USCIS, Canada Revenue Agency and Australian Tax Office personnel as well as payday loan, U.S. government grant and debt collection fraud schemes.

Patel also received monthly income and expense reports to his personal email from the call centers and used his Indian cell phone number to access GPR cards through automated telephone systems on many occasions.

A co-defendant described Patel as “the top person in India and the boss for whom most of the other defendants worked.” Another co-defendant claimed Patel was arrested in India in 2016, but paid a bribe and was released. Additionally, Patel admitted he was accountable for approximately $25-65 million.

Patel was extradited from Singapore in April 2019 to face charges in this large-scale telefraud and money laundering scheme. Singapore authorities apprehended Patel at the request of the United States pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant in September 2018 after Patel flew there from India.

As I have said before, the President should regularly highlight all of the scams his Justice Department is busting.

Michigan: Indian-American Sentenced to Twelve Years in the Slammer for Stealing $1 Million from Us

Rathod MichiganBabubhai Bhurabhai Rathod — a New American who brought cultural diversity and an entrepreneurial spirit to Michigan!

And, one of the most stunning things about this case, where Rathod has been sentenced to twelve years, is that he had already served prison time for the same theft from a similar Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme.
The Judge on sentencing him this time said this,

Judge Neff described Rathod as both “a man for whom the truth is a stranger” and a naturalized citizen who has “taken advantage of opportunities available in this country to steal from it.”

Before I get to the Department of Justice press release from Thursday, I want to tell you about his first go-round in prison just a few short years ago.
Continue reading “Michigan: Indian-American Sentenced to Twelve Years in the Slammer for Stealing $1 Million from Us”

Georgia: Indian-American Businessman Arrested in Super Bowl Ticket Fraud

Ketan Shah was arrested recently at a casino in California after he skipped town with proceeds from a scam where he allegedly “sold” non-existent tickets to the Atlanta Super Bowl game.
Atlanta super bowl
Shah was described in news accounts as being a member of the board of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce which quickly dumped him from the board.  See here.
Does it annoy you, it does me! to see that there are organizations like this one in America where they are working to promote their own ethnic group.
What happened to the idea of assimilation? Is America a hodgepodge of ethnic and racial groups each looking out for their own interests?  I never see the ‘melting pot’ pushers try to discourage this practice for ‘new Americans.’
From the Gwinnett Daily Post,

Gwinnett businessman accused in $1 million Super Bowl ticket scam arrested in California casino

The Gwinnett County man accused of scamming people out of nearly $1 million in Super Bowl tickets has been arrested in California.
Police began looking for Ketan Shah days before the Super Bowl, after several people, including his own mother, claimed the Lawrenceville man went missing after taking thousands of dollars.

Ketan shah
From Shah’s LinkedIn page:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/ketanvip

At least six people had reported to Gwinnett Police that Shah had offered to sell them Super Bowl tickets. One of the victims also reported he paid $500,000 for his entertainment company to host a large Super Bowl event at “an arena.”
The setup, incident reports show, was the same for almost all of the victims: Shah, a well-connected businessman in Gwinnett who was a board member of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, would provide the victims with their requested number of tickets after they sent Shah their money.
But that never happened, said Cpl. Wilbert Rundles, a spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.
It was discovered that Shah was reported as a missing person in December. He returned home and was removed from the system, police said. It was discovered that he had gone to Las Vegas, Nevada, on what was described as a mid-life crisis. He left again a couple days later and his family had not seen him since.

More here.
Heck, this is such a strange fraud scheme, I’m going to leave it uncategorized!
By the way, as I build an archive of stories here, use the categories found in the right hand sidebar at Frauds and Crooks for further reference.
Tags at the end of each post include states (if applicable) so eventually you will be able to see how your state is doing in the frauds, crooks and criminals department!

Florida: Indian-American Pain Doctor Sentenced in Medicare Fraud Case

Last week 66-year-old Jayam Krishna Iyer was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to repay $52,000 in false claims for Medicare reimbursement after years of dispensing dangerous pain meds to patients she didn’t even see!
 

Dr. Iyer leaves court
Dr. Iyer leaving court last September after admitting guilt. Expressed no remorse!  https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/investigations/clearwater-pain-doctor-admits-to-medicare-fraud-and-surrenders-license/1457146533

 
What is up with these Indian doctors, we recently had another story of an Indian pain doctor in Michigan, see here.
From News India:

Indian-American doctor in Florida sentenced to prison for fraud

 

An Indian-American doctor in Clearwater, Florida was sent to prison Jan. 30, after being convicted for health care fraud.
U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. sentenced Jayam Krishna Iyer, 66, to six months in federal prison for committing health care fraud, and ordered Iyer to forfeit more than $52,000 in health care fraud proceeds. He also ordered her to pay restitution to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
In addition, the court ordered Iyer to forfeit her Florida medical license, permanently excluding her from participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. And, Iyer agreed to surrender her Drug Enforcement Agency registration number, which had been used to prescribe controlled substances, and not to reapply for a DEA registration number for at least 20 years.
According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney for Middle District of Florida, based on court documents, Iyer owned and operated Creative Medical Center, on Druid Road East in Clearwater. The center functioned as a pain management clinic; Iyer conducted office visits and wrote prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl.
Beginning in July 2011 and continuing through December 2017, Iyer carried out a scheme to defraud Medicare by billing for face-to-face office visits with Medicare and Medicaid patients, when, in fact, certain patients had not gone to Iyer’s office and had not been examined by her on the claimed dates, prosecutors found.
Instead, family members of patients had visited Iyer’s office, where she issued prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, to the family members in the patients’ names. Iyer thereby violated a Florida law requiring doctors to perform an in-person office visit and examination of each patient before issuing Schedule II controlled substance prescriptions.
 

More here.
Some additional information on Dr. Iyer is here at Tampa’s WFLA in September when she admitted her guilt.

Clearwater pain doctor admits to medicare fraud and surrenders license

On Aug. 31, Dr. Iyer signed an agreement with federal prosecutors in Tampa admitting guilt to one felony count of Medicare fraud that will cost her at least $51,000 in restitution in addition to giving up her medical career. She also faces a possible fine of up to $250,000 and as much as 10 years in prison.
Iyer did not express any remorse before, during or after the hearing, but in court freely admitted to stealing from taxpayers through Medicare fraud for a period of at least six years in her practice at the Creative Heath Center located at 1210 Druid Road in Clearwater.
[….]
After a public records request, the Pinellas Medical Examiner sent 8 On Your Side an eight-page list of drugs prescribed by Iyer , including fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone and dilaudid, that turned up in various Medical Examiner investigations of suspicious deaths.
None of those ME cases resulted in a criminal prosecution of Iyer. She has also faced six malpractice lawsuits filed in Pinellas civil court according to court records.
[….]
The physician who earned her medical degree in India said she is a U.S. citizen so she does not face a threat of deportation for her felony conviction.

Go here for the rest of the story and to see the news clip.

question markI think we have a tendency to think doctors are caring and compassionate and most of all not scammers, but these cases of medical doctors, often ‘new American’ medical doctors, and their involvement in fueling America’s prescription drug epidemic are starting to pile up.  I think they need more publicity so that maybe more of you will be able to identify these frauds in your own communities. Where is the national media?

Boston Trial of Indian-American Opioid Drug Executive Underway

You might have caught a bit of this story on the national news because it involves a former stripper hired to help sell the drugs.
From the Boston Globe:

The federal government, which has been accused of failing to hold drug companies to account for the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic, hopes to dispel that impression Monday when the first criminal trial of pharmaceutical executives who marketed a painkiller begins.

johnnathkapoor
‘New American’ John Nath Kapoor was born in India

John N. Kapoor, a onetime billionaire and founder of Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics, is scheduled to go on trial in US District Court in Boston along with four former company executives on charges that they acted more like mobsters than pharmaceutical executives when they sold a brand of fentanyl, a powerful and addictive opioid.
In a trial expected to last up to three months, federal prosecutors will try to convince a jury that the five defendants paid bribes and kickbacks to physicians in a nationwide racketeering conspiracy. The payments allegedly induced doctors to prescribe Subsys, an under-the-tongue fentanyl spray approved to treat severe cancer-related pain, for patients who hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer.
The case features several explosive allegations. Prosecutors say that Insys set up a sham “speakers program” to funnel cash to doctors, adjusted payments based on how many prescriptions doctors wrote, misrepresented patients’ medical histories to dupe insurers into covering Subsys for people without cancer, and even hired a woman who was a former stripper and escort service manager as a key sales executive.
[….]
The criminal case marks a rare instance of the government using the criminal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, to go after corporate executives. The statute was approved in 1970, chiefly to prosecute organized crime figures.
[….]
Kapoor is the most prominent of the five Insys defendants. A 75-year-old shaggy-haired entrepreneur who was raised in India, lives in Phoenix, and was — until recently — on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires, Kapoor founded Chandler, Ariz.-based Insys in 1990. For more than a decade, he largely funded it out of his own pocket.

If found guilty, Kapoor could get up to 20 years in the slammer.
Much more here.
Pharmaceutical company fraud investigations should be applauded by all Americans, on the political Left and Right, especially as it relates to the deadly opioid crisis destroying lives in middle America.

question markI’m guess that almost everyone knows someone addicted to pain meds?
This story reminds me to remind you to check your medicare statements carefully to be sure some doctor isn’t billing you for meds that you didn’t receive or for an amount larger than you actually were prescribed.