2 Indian-Americans plead guilty to $1.2 million robocall fraud

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WASHINGTON: Two Indian-Americans have pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit fraud by obtaining $1.2 million in wire transfers from victims across the country, a US attorney said.
Arushobike Mitra (27) and Garbita Mitra (24) were part of an international fraud under which India-based call centres targeted US residents, particularly the elderly, through robocalls, according to a media release.
Elaborating on the racket's mode of operation, US attorney Philip R Sellinger said that after contacting the victims through automated calls, other members of the racket would coerce or trick them into sending large sums of money either physically or through wire transfers.
These fraudsters would impersonate government officials from agencies such as the Social Security Administration, FBI or DEA and threatened the victims with severe legal or financial consequences if they did not comply, federal prosecutors alleged.
The callers would also make the victims believe that they were speaking to someone from a tech support company and coerced them into granting the caller remote access to their personal computers, the media release stated.
The fraudsters would then access the victim's bank accounts and make it appear that the caller had inadvertently added money to the victim's bank account when in fact they had simply transferred the money from another one of the victim's accounts, it added.
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.
Arushobike and Garbita Mitra are charged with receiving fraudulent transfers of cash from 48 victims across the US totalling over USD 1.2 million, the media release said.
The two face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $2,50,000 or twice the amount of the loss, whichever is greater, it stated.
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