Two Indian nationals were each sentenced today to 41 months in prison for their roles in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud by accepting illegally obtained $1.2 million in wire transfers from victims across the United States, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Arushobike Mitra, 29, and Garbita Mitra, 25, (no relation) both previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Salas imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.
“These defendants and their conspirators preyed upon some of our most vulnerable citizens, using trickery and threats to coerce them into sending money,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “Protecting our elderly population from these kinds of deceitful robocall scams is a priority of our office. Those who engage in this kind of elder fraud scheme can expect to face justice.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
As part of an international fraud scheme, criminal India-based call centers utilized automated robocalls to victims across the country with the intent of defrauding U.S. residents, particularly the elderly. After establishing contact with victims through these automated calls, other members of the conspiracy would coerce or trick the victims into sending large sums of cash through physical shipments or wire transfers to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras. These conspirators used a variety of schemes to convince victims to send money, including impersonating government officials from agencies such as the Social Security Administration, or impersonating law enforcement officers from the FBI or DEA, and threatened victims with severe legal or financial consequences if they did not comply. Another method utilized by the callers involved convincing the victim they were speaking with someone from a tech support company and coercing the victim into granting the caller remote access to their personal computers. The caller would then access the victim’s bank accounts and make it appear to the victim that the caller had inadvertently added money to the victim’s bank account, when in fact the caller had simply transferred money from another one of the victim’s own accounts. The caller would then instruct the victim to “return” the money by way of mail or wire transfer to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Salas sentenced Arushobike Mitra and Garbita Mitra each to three years of supervised release and ordered them to pay $835,324 in restitution.