Fort Myers man pleads guilty in multimillion-dollar India-based call center scam

A Fort Myers man is among 24 defendants in the United States who pleaded guilty in a massive telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme operated by a network of India-based call centers and responsible for defrauding U.S. residents of hundreds of millions of dollars. Praful Patel, 50, was among those who entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas between Sept. 22 and Nov. 13. His plea included one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering offenses.  Patel, who emigrated to the U.S. about nine years ago, was arrested Oct. 26, 2016, at his home at 16519 Whispering Trace Court in Colony Trace, near Winkler Road in south Fort Myers, during a series of nationwide raids by the Department of Homeland Security.  More: South Fort Myers man arrested as part of IRS scam raid More: 4,100 immigrants in Lee & Collier counties have ICE court cases More: BBB lists top scams of 2016 Patel has been in federal custody since his arrest in 2016 and will remain detained until sentencing, tentatively set for March 8. According to admissions made in pleas entered by Patel and other defendants, the men and co-conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which individuals from call centers located in Ahmedabad, India, impersonated officials from the IRS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and engaged in other telephone call scams, in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout the United States.   Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center… [Read full story]

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