By posing as tax officials, three Georgia men took part in a scheme that cheated thousands of people across the U.S. out of more than $3.5 million, federal officials allege.
Dunwoody residents Moin Gohil, 22, and Nakul Chetiwal, 27, and Tucker resident Parvez Jiwani, 39, are accused of using fake IDs to pick up $666,537 wired from 784 victims who thought they were paying the IRS.
The false IDs the men used are also linked to 6,530 other fraudulent transactions totaling more than $2.8 million, prosecutors say.
Now, the three Georgia men, along with a 26-year-old Illinois man, Pratik Patel, are facing charges of wire fraud which could bring prison sentences of up to 20 years.
The scheme likely originated in India, federal prosecutors say.
Callers would contact U.S. residents and tell them they owed back taxes to the IRS and must immediately wire money to pay the debts.
Gohil, Chetiwal and Jiwani were “runners” whose role was to pick up fraud proceeds, the Justice Department says. Patel is accused of helping at least one of the men.
The case is pending in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Last year, in a separate case, police in India raided numerous call centers and arrested scores of people on suspicion of posing as IRS agents.
Victims were threatened with arrest, prison and fines if they didn’t pay.
U.S. prosecutors brought charges against 56 people in that case, and at least a dozen have pleaded guilty so far. Among them, in U.S. District Court in Georgia in September, Dipakkumar Sankalchand Patel, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
CLICK HERE to read more about that case.
If you think you may have been a victim of an IRS impersonation scheme, you can report the scam to the U.S. Treasury Department by CLICKING HERE.
You can also notify the Federal Trade Commission of scams involving someone falsely claiming to be from the government by CLICKING HERE.
This article was written by Lois Norder, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Featured Image: Patch
Inset Image: 2005 Getty Images