Washington: The Justice authority of US has announced action to shut down a group of call centers based in India that had cheated victims in the US of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The US Justice Department said that tens of thousands of victims, most of them from South Asia, were extorted by callers pretending to be US immigration or tax officials threatening them with deportation and arrest if they did not remit money to the government.
According to the US Justice Department that the victims were directed to people working with the call centers in the US to collect the fines through prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and the money was quickly laundered out of the country.
The department said that it had arrested 20 people and unveiled charges against five call centers and 32 individuals in India in the Ahmedabad – based operation.
In this call centre scam case, the US attorney in the southern district of Texas set charges against a total of 56 people and five Indian companies for conspiracy to commit identity theft, wire fraud, money laundering and false personification of an officer of the United States.
The US Justice department will seek the extradition of the Indians charged in the call center scam case.
Leslie Caldwell who is the Asst. Attorney General said that these individuals demanded immediate payments from the people they called to avoid deportation, to avoid arrest or to cover supposedly unpaid income taxes.
As per the statement of US Justice Department that the call centre racket made use of informal money transfer businesses known as ‘hawalas’ to move the money. Many of those businesses did not know the money being transferred was part of an extortion scheme.