Department of JusticeOffice of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, October 27, 2016
Dozens of Individuals Indicted in Multimillion-Dollar Indian Call Center Scam Targeting U.S. Victims
Today, an indictment was unsealed charging a total of 61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Inspector General J. Russell George of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and Inspector General John Roth of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) made the announcement today.
“The indictment we unsealed and the arrests we made today demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to identifying and prosecuting the individuals behind these impersonation and telefraud schemes, who seek to profit by exploiting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,”said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “This is a transnational problem, and demonstrates that modern criminals target Americans both from inside our borders and from abroad. Only by working tirelessly to gather evidence, build cases and working closely with foreign law enforcement partners to ensure there are no safe havens can we effectively address these threats.”
“This indictment will serve to not only seek the conviction of those involved, but will send a message around the world that no one is safe from prosecution for participating in such pervasive transnational fraud schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Magidson. “We are extremely vigilant when the names of U.S. government agencies are used to perpetuate fraud for the purpose of victimizing so many innocent American citizens.”
“Today’s actions will not only bring a sense of justice to the victims in this case, but this significant investigation will also help increase awareness of this type of fraud,” said Executive Associate Director Edge. “To potential victims, our message today is simple: U.S. government agencies do not make these types of calls, and if you receive one, contact law enforcement to report the suspected scam before you make a payment.”
“All agencies involved in today’s announcement are to be congratulated and commended on their outstanding efforts,” said Inspector General George. “This indictment is the result of countless hours of solid investigative work and excellent cross-governmental collaboration concerning massive amounts of fraud that individuals have allegedly perpetrated on the American people.”
“This multi-agency, three year investigation illustrates the ability of federal, state and local agencies to successfully leverage resources, communicate and work together to achieve justice,” said Inspector General Roth. “We commend the victims for overcoming any possible embarrassment or fear and coming forward and report this to the authorities.”
The indictment was returned by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Oct. 19, 2016, and charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit identity theft, false personation of an officer of the United States, wire fraud and money laundering. One of the defendants is separately charged with passport fraud.
The indictment alleges that the defendants were involved in a sophisticated fraudulent scheme organized by conspirators in India, including a network of call centers in Ahmedabad, India. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators allegedly called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. According to the indictment, the call center operators then threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centers would then immediately turn to a network of U.S.-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds as quickly as possible by purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers. The prepaid debit cards were often registered using misappropriated personal identifying information of thousands of identity theft victims, and the wire transfers were directed by the criminal associates using fake names and fraudulent identifications.
The co-conspirators allegedly used “hawalas,” in which money is transferred internationally outside of the formal banking system, to direct the extorted funds to accounts belonging to U.S.-based individuals. According to the indictment, these individuals were expecting the hawala transfers but were not aware of the illicit nature of the funds. The co-conspirators also allegedly kept a percentage of the proceeds for themselves.
According to the indictment, one of the call centers extorted $12,300 from an 85-year-old victim from San Diego, California, after threatening her with arrest if she did not pay fictitious tax violations. On the same day that she was extorted, one of the U.S.-based defendants allegedly used a reloadable debit card funded with the victim’s money to purchase money orders in Frisco, Texas.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants extorted $136,000 from a victim in Hayward, California, who they called multiple times over a period of 20 days, fraudulently purporting to be IRS agents and demanding payment for alleged tax violations. The victim was then directed to purchase 276 stored value cards which the defendants then transferred to reloadable debit cards. Some of the victim’s money ended up on cards which were activated using stolen personal identifying information from U.S.- based victims.
The conspirators would at times allegedly use alternative fraudulent schemes in which the call center operators would offer the victims small short-term loans or advise them that they were eligible for grants. The indictment alleges that the conspirators would then request a good-faith deposit to show the victims’ ability to pay back the loan, or payment of a fee to process the grant. The victims of the alleged scam never received any money after making the requested payment.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
DHS OIG, HSI and TIGTA led the investigation. The Ft. Bend, Texas, County Sheriff’s Department; the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Police Department; the Leonia, New Jersey, Police Department; the Naperville, Illinois, Police Department; the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Family Protection/Elder Abuse Unit; the U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General; IOC-2; INTERPOL Washington; and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices of the Northern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, Central District of California, Northern District of California, District of Colorado, Northern District of Florida, Middle District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, Northern District of Indiana, District of Nevada and District of New Jersey provided significant support in this case. The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau provided assistance in TIGTA’s investigation.
Senior Trial Attorney Hope Olds and Trial Attorney Michael Sheckels of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Trial Attorney Robert Stapleton of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Mark McIntyre and Craig Feazel of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
A Department of Justice website has been established to provide information about the case to already identified and potential victims, and the public. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of fraud or identity theft in relation to this investigation or other telefraud scam phone calls may contact the FTC via this website.
Anyone who wants additional information about telefraud scams generally, or preventing identity theft or fraudulent use of their identity information, may obtain helpful information on the IRS tax scams website, the FTC phone scam website and the FTC identity theft website.
This is what happens
Like everybody else, I was a high paid software developer.
But then companies like USAA and Rackspace decided that they could make more money using H-1B’s so they threw the American citizens under the bus.
And our department of veterans affairs continues to run over us.
N O T I C E O F R E S U L T S
VHA SOUTH TEXAS HCS SAN ANTONI
PLEASE DO NOT MAIL/EMAIL
APPLY ONLINE OR FAX ONLY
SAN ANTONIO TX 78229
VIRGIL J BIERSCHWALE,
Date Issued: October 27, 2016
This is a record of your application for Federal Employment in the occupation shown above. This is not a job offer. This notice
provides information contained in your record as it appears in the files of the Servicing Office shown above. Your qualification and any
veteran preference claims are subject to verification.
Series – PositionTitle: 2805 – Electrician
Vacancy ID: 1807091
Announcement Number: VHA-671-17-JM-1807091-BU
Date of Availability: 10/14/2016
Full-time Employment: Yes
San Antonio, TX
Veteran Preference: 5 Points – TP (not adjudicated)
You must meet all medical, suitability, and qualification requirements to be considered for a position.
Spec Code: Spec Title: Grade: Rating:
001 Electrician 10 IVCA
Rating Code: Rating Message:
IVCA You are ineligible for consideration because you do not meet the requirements of the “Who May Apply”
section, listed in the vacancy announcement.
PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL MESSAGE. IT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED.
For additional information, please refer to the vacancy announcement for this position.
I worked as a marine electrician at bath iron works.
I worked as a electronics mechanic at portsmouth navy ship yard.
All of that is in my answers, and this time I even put a cover letter with it because I desperately need work.
And yes, I am veoa eligible
but still I am not qualified?
I suspect my age.
Guess they want me to go step on a land mine and shut the ???? up
Click on the two links above this line to view those documents.
My land is more important to me than life itself.
You won’t understand that if you’ve never been homeless or nearly homeless.
I have to come up with $625.00 by tomorrow.
Anybody willing to take a chance on that and lend me the money and give me at least 90 days to pay it back?
The texas vets land bank won’t.
The gi home loan bill won’t.
I’m not willing to rob a bank or steal.
And nobody will hire me that will pay enough to make the payments and put me a shed on it.
So tell me, what other option do I have?
As Fujioka had done at his prior companies, at Fuhu he hired childhood pals to populate many of the company’s senior positions. He also cherry-picked a group called the Partnership, some 30 employees who committed themselves to the collective good of the company. With that honor came the promise of equity, special access to Fujioka himself, and a walkie-talkie–which Fujioka’s assistant could use to send for his staff. “It was another form of knowing he could get anybody to drop everything at a moment’s notice,” says one former senior executive.
The Partnership provided a powerful incentive for employee motivation, but it also created an organizational caste system. “Just imagine you’re in a high school, and all the cool kids get to sit at this cool table,” says one former nonpartner employee. “If you’re not part of that circle, you don’t get looked at and you don’t get talked to.” In this atmosphere, rumors flew of special perks for Partnership members. Fujioka denies there was anything improper about any of the favors he doled out. “We negotiated [auto] leases, and I’m pretty sure there were times when we helped people with their payments,” says Fujioka, noting that he gave one pregnant partner three bonus months of paid maternity leave. Jealousy and gossip from nonpartners, he says, were disheartening. “Maybe what they don’t understand is that the person [who received extra maternity leave] had two miscarriages, and it’s probably because she was working 13 hours a day. Those kinds of things,” he says. “And did it ever come out of pocket? A lot. That’s why I hesitate–was that Fuhu or was that me? Because I think 80 percent of it was me.”“Maybe there’s such thing as $20 million or $30 million between friends. But $100 million? I don’t think they’re friends any longer.”
Meanwhile, loyalty was best proved to Fujioka by self-sacrifice. He expected employees to work as doggedly for him as he had for the Huis, who, he says, once made him pull several consecutive all-nighters to write a business plan. John Hui’s exercises “were very painful,” says Fujioka. “It was really about obligation, responsibility, and servitude.” Signs of disloyalty, real or perceived, could flare Fujioka’s temper. In one instance, after a junior staffer privately asked the head of HR when he could collect overtime and take vacation, he was dragged before Fujioka and a roomful of partners for a vote on whether he should be fired. The meeting, the staffer later alleged in a wrongful-termination suit that was settled, “was done with oppression and malice” and resulted in “depression, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress.” Employees say they eventually learned not to challenge the views of their micromanager boss. “He wasn’t listening to the smart, talented people that he had hired,” says one former staffer. “Instead, he’d listen to the group that really consisted only of yes-men.”
Sadly, several of my projects in the last 10 years have involved things like this.
I wouldn’t play ball with crap like this, so I paid the price.
Would I do it again?
I just did about 2 months ago.
Why do I tell these stories?
Millions of Former Middle Class Workers lives have been destroyed by the tech industry in their demand for non-immigrant guest workers that will work very long hours for little money when you figure up the hours versus the pay.
They will yell from the roof tops that they can’t find qualified people.
I am calling them a liar and this is my way of showing what is happening to damned fine Americans across our country.
Trust me, it is NOT just me that this is happening too.
I simply am one that is willing to tell my story because our silence enables this madness.
The following picture will show you the most demanded jobs as documented with the H-1B Hunting License Applications that are filed with the U.S. Government.
I have most of the skills, knowledge and wisdom to fill ANY of those top 10 computer jobs in the Top 10 Occupations.
Yet I can’t buy an interview.
So I fight my battle here and live like I do because I believe it is time to quit enabling this madness