WASHINGTON: An India-based call centre and three individuals, including two Indians, on Tuesday were indicted by a US court for their alleged involvement in a tele-fraud scheme targeting Americans.
The scheme led victims to believe that they owed taxes and fees to the US' Internal Revenue Service (IRS), federal authorities said.
Mohit Devendrabhai Sharma and Kunal Jagdishbhai Sharma, both of whom are Indians, Julliette Belle Carter and a call centre named Skyz International Outsourcing BPO were involved in a transnational criminal organisation that victimised US residents through the sophisticated international telephone scheme, they said.
The call centre is based in Gujarat.
While Carter was arrested in Canada pursuant to an extradition request, two other Indian defendants and the call centre in India were also charged for their alleged involvement in the fraud.
The indictment charges them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
"Using lists of US residents' personal identifiable information, co-conspirators allegedly called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service," federal prosecutors said.
The callers would threaten potential victims with prosecution or arrest if they did not pay alleged tax debts immediately.
After the victims agreed to pay, the callers would instruct the victims to send the money electronically using banks or money transmitters, such as MoneyGram, to the gang members.
According to J Russell George, Inspector General for the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), IRS impersonation scams in US have claimed over 15,000 victims who have lost more than USD 74 million to fraudsters.