U.S. Breaks Up Vast I.R.S. Phone Scam
In addition, 32 contractors in India involving five call centers in Ahmedabad, a city in western India, have been indicted on wire fraud, money laundering and other conspiracy charges as part of the operation, the department said.
They have yet to be arraigned, it said.
The sentences “represent the culmination of the first-ever large scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call center scam industry,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
The investigation took years of work by Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Treasury Department officials, the statement said.
Some of the callers in the operation also pretended to be offering grants or payday loans linked to a borrower’s paycheck, prompting victims to pay a fee upfront before they could receive the fictitious loan, the 2016 indictment says. For example, a man in Houston was told he should pay a $195 fee to get a $1,000 loan, which he never did.
The Internal Revenue Service has repeatedly warned Americans, especially just before the April deadlines to file taxes, about scams like this one.
For example, in tips on how to avoid fraud, the I.R.S. says it does not demand immediate payment of debts using a specific method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
Generally, the I.R.S. will first mail a bill to a taxpayer who owes money, allowing for questions or a formal appeal. It will not threaten to bring in the…