A 21-year-old Bishwajeet Kumar Jha, an Indian college intern in the US has been sentenced to five years in prison for providing tech support to a telemarketing fraud scheme in the US. The scam duped about two dozen senior citizens of their retirement savings amounting to nearly a $1 million (nearly Rs 7 crore).
Jha defrauded senior citizens aged between 58 years to 93 years. He was doing the hospitality industry internships in the US. Shockingly enough, the victims were duped of their retirement savings ranging between $1,180 (Rs 81,900) and $174,300 (Rs 1,20,900), according to the Department of Justice.
The DoJ also said that Jha will face deportation proceedings upon the completion of his term of incarceration. Here's what happened:
Over three months, the telemarketing scam defrauded senior citizens of at least $937,280 (Rs 6 crore 50 lakhs). Victims believed that they had purchased technology support and the money was mistakenly refunded to their bank accounts by the Tech support company.
The victims were asked to return the money and directed to send the money to the defendant and others. Federal prosecutors allege that some of the victims were told to send the money overseas. The scam was interrupted by Newport Police in November last year. As part of the investigation, detectives executed a court-authorised search of the residence of Jha and the other members involved in the fraud.
During the investigation, Newport police seized many items related to the operation of the scam.
A following investigation discovered that after the co-conspirators working in Newport shared some of the proceeds of the scheme, large sums of money garnered from the scheme were transferred to a bank account in California. From there, the majority of funds were transferred abroad to countries like India, China, and Singapore.
"The Department of Justice takes very seriously, and will advocate for the imposition of substantial criminal penalties for targeting vulnerable, especially elderly, victims through the commission of federal crimes such as this," said US Attorney Aaron L Weisman
(With PTI inputs)