US Breaks A Large-Scale, Multinational IRS Telephone Fraud Operation
One 85-year-old woman in San Diego paid $12,300 to people who claimed that they were I.R.S.
employees, threatening her with arrest for tax violations. The same thing happened to a man
from Chicago, who paid more than $5,000 after being threatened with possible arrest and
deportation by fraudsters representing themselves as ‘state police and immigration authorities.’
In an announcement last month, the Justice Department confirmed that this is a fraudulent case
set up by 21 people living in eight states – Arizona, Alabama, California, Indiana, Florida, Illinois,
Texas, and New Jersey – all sentenced last week in Houston and jailed for 20 years for their role
in the fraudulent scheme.
The Justice Department recently stated that it has broken up one of the nation’s first large-scale
and multinational telephone fraud operators, sentencing 21 conspirators in the US last month,
connected with India in a fraud system.
For more than four years, this fraud led more than 15,000 victims in the United States to lose
“hundreds of millions” of dollars to this scam – with more than 50,000 individuals having their
personal information misused, according to the department. The money has apparently been re-
routed through call centers in India, for which the Justice Department sent a round of
indictments in India.
The fraudulent calls were active in line with the scam, which operated from 2012 to 2016,
according to the court documents. In it, people were posing as IRS (Internal Revenue Service)
or immigration officials, threatening people with arrests, deportations or other penalties if they
did not immediately pay their debts with prepaid cards or wire transfers.
Aside from the 20 people who were sentenced for 20 years in prison, two other conspirators
from Illinois were also sentenced to two to four years in prison for conspiracy, and a third person
in Arizona was given probation in a plea agreement.
In India, the indictments were sent to 32 contractors who worked from five call centers in
Ahmedabad, a city in Western India. They have all been indicted on wire fraud, money
laundering as well as other conspiracy charges that were part of the operation, according to the
As US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement following the indictment, “The sentences represent the culmination of the first-ever large-scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call center scam industry,”
According to the issued statement, this investigation took years of work by the Justice
Department, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Treasury Department officials and
the Department of Homeland Security.
For all the people confused by this fraud, it is worthy to say that the IRS is responsible for
mailing a bill to the taxpayers who owe money, allowing for questions or a formal appeal. More
importantly, an institution like the IRS will never threaten to bring in the police, immigration
officers or other law-enforcement authorities in cases like these.