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 Mayor Indicted! Committed Bribery and Wire Fraud, Say the Feds

“Public corruption at any level undermines the community’s faith in their elected officials and does long-term damage to government institutions.”

(Steven D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI)

 

The Mayor, along with his pals, allegedly used his elected office and campaign funds to enrich himself.

From the US Justice Department just before Christmas:

MAYOR OF TAYLOR AND TWO OTHERS INDICTED FOR BRIBERY AND FRAUD

A thirty-three count Indictment unsealed today charges City of Taylor Mayor Richard “Rick” Sollars, businessman Shady Awad, and Taylor Community Development Manager Jeffrey Baum with conspiracy to commit bribery in a scheme spanning from 2015 to 2019, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced. The Indictment also charges Sollars and Awad with seven counts of bribery each, and charges Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of Wire Fraud.

According to the Indictment, Sollars helped Awad’s real estate development company Realty Transition LLC obtain scores of tax-foreclosed properties owned by the City of Taylor. In return, Awad lavished Sollars with thousands of dollars in cash and over $30,000 in renovations to Sollars’s home, over $11,000 in renovations to Sollars’s lake house, and over $12,000 in new household appliances.

Alleged co-conspirator Shady Awad chit-chatting with Democrat Mayor Sollars. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2019/12/19/feds-indict-taylor-mayor-sollars-bribery-scandal/2698426001/

 

The appliances included a refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher, a $1,600 cigar humidor, a vacuum cleaner, and a clothes washer and dryer. The free renovations provided to Sollars by Awad include hardwood floors on every level of Sollars’s Taylor residence, hardwood floors at the lake house, a garage door, a new front door, cabinets, and a refurbished lake house deck.

The Indictment also alleges that Jeffrey Baum received bribes from Awad and another developer, in exchange for Baum’s help in obtaining tax-foreclosed properties from the City.

Sollar’s vacation home!

Text messages between Sollars, Awad, and Baum cited throughout the Indictment document the bribe scheme. In one text, Awad states as follows: “My relationship with Rick is worth $1 million so whatever it takes I’ll pay for it” in telling a contractor to do free work on Sollars’s lake house.

The Indictment also charges Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of Wire Fraud, alleging that Sollars and Baum defrauded donors to Sollars’s campaign fund in three ways. First, Sollars would take checks from his campaign account and write them payable to a particular market, purporting to pay for catering for one of Sollars’s events. Instead, the market owner would cash the campaign checks and give the cash back to Sollars, with no catering provided. Second, Sollars and Baum would direct Sollars’s supporters to write checks directly to the market for events that never occurred. Sollars would get cash and scratch-off lottery tickets from the market owner. Third, Sollars and Baum would solicit and accept thousands of dollars in cash contributions to Sollars’s campaign. Instead of depositing the funds into his campaign account, Sollars would simply keep the cash and use it for personal expenses.

The Indictment also seeks forfeiture of $205,993 in cash seized from Sollars’s home on February 10, 2019.

FBI provides readers with contact information if you suspect fraud or corruption with your local elected officials!

“Any time an allegation of corruption is brought to our attention, the FBI’s Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force will investigate it thoroughly. Public corruption at any level undermines the community’s faith in their elected officials and does long-term damage to government institutions,” said SAC D’Antuono. “With that in mind, we encourage anyone who believes they have information about corruption to contact the FBI at 313-965-4545 or tips.fbi.gov.”

More details here.

I know I haven’t done a scientific analysis, but heck it sure seems that a very high percentage of my ‘Frauds and Crooks’ stories originate in Michigan!

 

For new readers:  If you are interested in the issue of Refugee Resettlement (Michigan is a leading state that ‘welcomes’ more impoverished people), visit my other blog Refugee Resettlement Watch where I have been spending a lot of time in recent weeks.

Indiana: ISIS Wife Guilty of Sneaking Money to the Terrorists

Editor:  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  Sorry, I haven’t written much at ‘Frauds and Crooks’ lately but things are hopping on the refugee front and I’ll have to keep my focus there (at Refugee Resettlement Watch) in the coming weeks.

The President’s September Executive Order which would give state and local governments some say in whether refugees will be placed in certain locations has energized the refugee industry and all across the country they are mobilizing to pressure governors and local governments to tell the President that they want MORE refugees.  Six governors have so far said—send them to my state!  There appears to be a late December deadline for all to weigh in, but guidance has not been published as far as I can tell.

The day before Thanksgiving, I published a list of 88 mayors who said they wanted more refugees and that post went viral.

Here is the news I had planned for today.

FBI: Samantha Elhassani betrayed her fellow Americans.

I’m reminded once again that a gullible young woman got involved with a (likely charming) Moroccan national and produced 4 children with him while helping him help ISIS.

He is dead, she was returned from Syria to face justice in the US, has lost her children to Indiana social services and now faces prison time.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 2020.

Time is short (must get back to RRW), so I’m posting only the Justice Department press statement from earlier this week, if you want to learn more about her, search her name and you will see several news accounts giving more details about how she became a traitor to America.

Former Indiana Resident Pleads Guilty to Concealing Terrorism Financing

Samantha Marie Elhassani, aka Samantha Sally, 34, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, pleaded guilty yesterday to a one-count Information charging her with concealment of terrorism financing in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339C.

“Elhassani admitted that she traveled overseas and pre-positioned over $30,000 in cash and gold, knowing that the funds would be used by her husband and brother-in-law to join and support ISIS in Syria,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

“The National Security Division is committed to identifying and holding accountable those who support foreign terrorist organizations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this result.”

“Samantha Elhassani pled guilty to providing financial support to individuals who desired to support ISIS, a terrorist organization that has committed acts of violence against Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana. “She traveled with her husband and brother-in-law to Syria, both of whom became ISIS fighters, putting the lives of her children at risk. Yesterday’s guilty plea to federal terrorism charges reflects the seriousness of her criminal conduct. My office is committed to prosecuting those who provide support to terrorist organizations. ”

“The charges that the defendant in this case has plead guilty to are a reminder the FBI will never relent in ensuring that Americans who abandon their country to further the heinous goals of a designated terrorist organization like ISIS see justice for their betrayal”said Assistant Director Mike McGarrity. “I am proud of the work of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office on this case and grateful for the assistance of our many international and interagency partners.”

“Ms Elhassani knowingly engaged in the concealment of resources which were intended to support future ISIS fighters whose intent is to harm her fellow Americans and others, and her plea should serve as a strong reminder that these actions have serious consequences and will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall, FBI Indianapolis. “The defendant also exposed her young, impressionable children to an environment of hatred and violence with no regard to the harm she was causing them.

In November 2014, Elhassani was informed by her husband that he and his brother wanted to travel to Syria to join ISIS, which she knew was a terrorist organization that engaged in terrorist activities. Between November 2014 and April 1015, Elhassani helped the two men join ISIS by making multiple trips to Hong Kong and transporting more than $30,000 in cash and gold from the United States and depositing it in a safe deposit box in Hong Kong. Elhassani melted down the gold to look like jewelry and did not disclose the cash and gold on customs declaration forms. At the time Elhassani transported the money and gold, she knew that her husband and brother-in-law had expressed an interest in joining ISIS and that they intended to use these resources to support ISIS.

In July of 2018, Elhassani was transferred from the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to U.S. law enforcement custody.

I would like to know how she hooked up in the first place with a Moroccan national who was apparently living in Indiana.  How was he here?  Legally? Illegally?  If anyone sees any news about that, send it my way.

And, again, come on over to RRW and see what you should be doing now to counter the refugee industry’s big push to get governors and mayors to go on record in support of more refugees!  (The governors who have already agreed are listed in the right hand sidebar—2 are Republicans!)

Connecticut: Syrian National Stalks Wife Gets Two Years in Prison, No Deportation

And, then WTH! he will be out and free in America. He had earlier been the subject of a deportation order.

This is the kind of news that ticks me off!  First, there is no mention of how he and his family came to be living in New Haven, CT.  Were they refugees resettled in 2016 during Obama’s big movement of Syrian refugees to Anytown, USA, or did they get here through another legal or illegal avenue?

Why are we never told?

Since there is no pic of the Syrian stalker, we’ll use the face of US Attorney John Durham who announced the light sentence that puts the Syrian back on the streets in two years!

And, of course there is no photo.  Stories like this one are dressed-up with pictures of court houses and gavels because even if a photo could be used for a foreign criminal, it rarely is!

But, of most concern in this case is the lack of any discussion about why the guilty stalker was ordered to be deported, but now gets only a couple of years in the slammer.

What is his wife going to do to protect herself in two short years?

This Justice Department press release from Tuesday is not one of their better releases. Could that be because it is written in a Connecticut DOJ office?

Syrian National Sentenced for Stalking Offense

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ALAA HASAN QALB ALLOUZ, 34, a citizen of Syria last residing in New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stalking in violation of a protective order.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in July 2016, Allouz, his wife and their children emigrated from Syria and settled in New Haven. In April 2017, Allouz’s wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage, after incidents of domestic violence and Allouz’s state arrests for risk of injury, assault, breach of peace, and violation of a protective order offenses. In July 2017, Allouz’s wife obtained a Standing Criminal Protective Order ordering Allouz not to contact his wife. In August 2017, after Allouz threatened his wife, Allouz’s wife withdrew her petition for dissolution of marriage.

Deportation ordered in 2018, so why wasn’t he deported!

On February 2, 2018, Allouz was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a federal arrest warrant and order of deportation, and he was transferred from a Connecticut state prison to a detention center in Massachusetts.

While in detention, he continued to threaten his wife!

While he was detained in ICE custody, Allouz made multiple phone calls to his wife during which he repeatedly harassed, threatened and intimidated her. He also made calls to other individuals during which he threatened to harm his wife and her family members. Allouz also threatened his wife and her family members in letters and e-mails.

I repeat: So why wasn’t he deported?

Allouz has been detained, first in state and then federal custody, since January 10, 2017. On February 5, 2019, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging him with one count of stalking in violation of a protective order. He pleaded guilty to the offense on May 15, 2019.

He gets two years behind bars at taxpayers’ expense and then will be on supervised release for three years! Who is going to protect the wife when he walks free?

Another Nigerian Sentenced for Cyber Scam, also Committed Marriage Fraud to Stay in US

I promise this isn’t a blog just for Nigerian scammers we ‘welcomed’ to America even if it seems that way sometimes!

Maybe we have a special visa I didn’t know about to attract the best and brightest scammers in the world to ply their trade while living among us!

First thing I did after seeing the news from the US Justice Department about Nigerian national Olufolajimi Abegunde getting a six year sentence in the slammer (the taxpayers must now pay for!) was to see if there was a picture this time.

Well, what do you know there is!

Abegunde received an MBA from Texas A&M which gives us a clue that he came to the US on a student visa.

You will see below that he committed marriage fraud to stay—a common pathway for ‘new American’ wannabees.

The photo at right has been used widely around the world (not much US media coverage of his case), but Nigerian writers are promoting the propaganda that Abegunde was being racially profiled by the feds in Tennessee.

In January of this year, according to an African blogger, Abegunde is innocent and he was scapegoated by racist feds operating in racist Memphis, Tennessee:

Other updates to the saga also shows that a local judge in Memphis TN area, the city where he is being held, confirmed that Federal authorities around TN area act and prosecute based on racial bias.

Judge Fowlkes of Memphis TN confirmed this while trying a gun charge case.The case involved a white man who records say sold an undercover officer 100 ecstasy pills for $800, while his black partner stayed in the car with a gun.

Fowlkes asked why the white defendant wasn’t slapped with the same gun charge as the black defendant since they worked together. The gun charge carres an automatic 5 year sentence just for the black person.

The above case shows that Olufolajimi’s claims of racial mistreatment is valid and should be taken into account. His family wishes to draw the attention of current Presidential aspirants and other concerned Nigerians to look into this matter as Nigeria cannot continue to fold it’s arms while it’s citizens are mistreated on the basis of skin color.

Now have a look at the US Justice Department case against the pure-as-the-driven-snow Abegunde:

Nigerian Citizen Sentenced for Role in International Cyber-Fraud Scheme

Memphis, TN – A citizen of Nigeria residing in Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 78 months in prison yesterday for his role in an international cyber fraud scheme….

[….]

Abegunde and Ramos-Alonso participated in a criminal organization in which members “spoofed” emails and created fake profiles on dating websites in order to fool victims into sending money to bogus bank accounts under the control of members of the conspiracy. The proceeds would be laundered and subsequently wired out of the United States to destinations including West Africa.

The organization as a whole is believed to have caused more than $10,000,000 in damage to United States citizens and businesses.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: “Frauds perpetrated through the Internet cause significant financial harm to businesses and individuals in our District and throughout the United States. Because those committing Internet fraud involve foreign nationals and others who hide behind technology, the cases are difficult – but not impossible – to investigate. We will continue to deploy our resources to take on these difficult cases, and we are pleased to achieve justice for the victims in this case.”

Read the details about how the crooks set up their cyber crimes, but below we see how Abegunde used marriage fraud to stay in the US once he finished ‘studying’ at Texas A & M.  You can’t make this up!

The Justice Department continues…

In addition to his financial activities, Abegunde also engaged in a conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Abegunde was married during his studies at Texas A&M, but divorced his wife in 2016 to marry a U.S. service member through whom he could obtain immigration and health care benefits and also open new bank accounts.

He continued to live with his first wife in Atlanta while his U.S. service member wife was deployed to South Korea.

While incarcerated and awaiting trial in the Western District of Tennessee, Abegunde continued his conspiratorial activities, trying to convince his fake spouse, who has since filed for divorce, to refuse to testify against him.

Abegunde is contesting the divorce from his fake spouse.

Abegunde also engaged in witness tampering by sending a self-written Motion to Dismiss bearing his former attorney’s name and professional attestation. The evidence at trial established that Abegunde drafted and sent the motion, which his attorney expressly did not authorize, to his faux spouse in an effort to deceive her into not testifying against him.

Read it all here.

You wouldn’t know it if you just watch cable news and read your local paper, but there are many, many fraud schemes (perpetrated by foreign nationals)  busted every day by the Trump Administration.  The President should be bragging about the crooks and criminals he is getting off the streets.

At each rally he should showcase some of the best cases his Justice Department has prosecuted.

Be sure to see my tag below for Nigeria!