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Dimapur police recently arrested over 15 individuals, working at a call centre located between 6th and 7th Mile area in the district for their alleged involvement in a call centre scam which had defrauded US citizens.
According to sources, the scam involved call centre operators who impersonated as officials of the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or individuals offering payday loans while calling potential victims, using information obtained from data brokers and other sources.
A team of the Dimapur Police raided the call centre on August 16 evening where over 15 call centre executives, most of them local educated youths, including five to six females were arrested. The well setup office was later locked down after it was busted.
Most of the accused were released on bail, but four of them are still under judicial custody, sources added. According to reports, the modus operandi, the call centre operators would threaten potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, or fines if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centre would immediately turn to a network of US-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds.
This involved purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers, including through MoneyGram and Western Union, to the attention of fictitious names and US-based defendants and their co-conspirators.
The Indian call centres used various telephone fraud schemes to defraud mainly vulnerable Americans, including the elderly and legal immigrants. Sources also informed that such covert and dubious call centres have been functioning mainly in metro cities including North Eastern cities like Guwahati and Shillong.
5 Indian-origin BPOs accused in multimillion-dollar call centre scam in US: This scam was also reported by a news agency which cited the US Justice department of having stated that five India-based call centres were indicted in a multimillion-dollar scam that defrauded over 2000 U.S. citizens, resulting in over $5.5 million in losses.
The five India-based call centres that have been indicted are Excellent Solutions BPO, ADN Infotech Pvt. Ltd, Infoace BPO Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Adore Infosource, Inc., Zurik BPO Services Pvt. Ltd.
Apart from Mohamed Kazim Momin, Patel, Mohmed Sozab Momin, Pope, Deane, Riggins and Miller, the others who were indicted include-- Shylesh Kumar Sharma, Dilipkumar Kodwini, Radhishraj Natarajan, Shubham Sharma, Nirav Janakbhai Panchal, Athar Parvez Mansuri, Mohmmad Samir Memon and Rodrigo Leon-Castillo.
Earlier, 21 Indian-origin persons in the US and three Indians were sentenced up to 20 years in prison for their involvement in the same fraud and money laundering scheme.
Between 2012 and 2016, the defendants perpetrated a complex fraud and money laundering scheme in which individuals from call centres located in Ahmedabad frequently impersonated officials from the IRS or US Citizenship and Immigration Services in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout America.