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United States of America v. Bishwajeet Kumar Jha
Case Number: 1:19-cr-00031-JJM-PAS
Judge: John J. McConnell
Court: United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island (Providence County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Sandra R. Hebert
Defendant's Attorney: Joanne M. Daley - FPD
Providence, RI - "Tech Support" Telemarketing Scheme Leader Sentenced
Rhode Island-based operation with ties to India shut down by Newport Police
A college intern from India who led a group of college students in Newport in their participation in a “tech support” fraud scheme that duped close to two dozen individuals out of nearly a million dollars was sentenced in federal court in Providence to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to re-pay his victims.
The Newport-based operation was tied to a large-scale telemarketing operation based in India.
Bishwajeet Kumar Jha, 21, and several other interns from the same college in India who were in the United States on hospitality industry internships defrauded a number of individuals of their retirement savings. The victims ranged in age from 58 years-old to 93 years-old and were duped out of between $1,180 dollars and $174,300 dollars. Over approximately three-months, the conspiracy defrauded individuals of at least $937,280.
The victims, who believed that they had purchased technology support, were led to believe that money had been erroneously refunded to their bank accounts by the tech support company. The victims were asked to return the erroneous refund and directed to send the money to the defendant and others. Some of the victims were told to send the money overseas.
The scheme was interrupted by Newport Police on November 20, 2018, when, as part of the investigation, detectives executed a court-authorized search of the residence of Jha and the other members of the conspiracy.
During the court-authorized search, Newport Police seized numerous items related to the operation of the telemarketing scheme. A subsequent investigation by members of the Newport Police Department and HSI agents determined that after the co-conspirators operating in Newport shared some of the proceeds of the scheme, large sums of money garnered from the scheme were transferred to a bank account in California. From there, the majority of funds were transferred internationally to India, China, and Singapore.
“The Department of Justice takes very seriously, and will advocate for the imposition of substantial criminal penalties for targeting vulnerable, especially elderly, victims through the commission of federal crimes such as this,” said United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman. “Investigations like this one by the Newport Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations show the strength of law enforcement working together to identify and hold accountable those whose mission it is to steal, and in some instance bankrupt, the elderly and most vulnerable in our community.”
Newport Police Chief Gary T. Silva commented, “This type of criminal activity is disturbing. Those who prey on citizens, particularly those citizens who are vulnerable, are deliberately calculating in their persistent efforts to defraud honest people. This investigation and successful prosecution of those responsible should provide notice to others contemplating similar acts that law enforcement and prosecutors are committed to actively bring to justice those responsible.”
“Today’s sentence is fitting and appropriate in light of the serious nature of the charges this defendant was convicted of,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Boston. “HSI remains strongly committed to investigating those who wrongly believe they can exploit the generous nature of our immigration system to scam Americans via financial fraud schemes.”
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., sentenced Jha to 60 months in prison. A restitution order will be issued by the Court at a later date.
Jha will face deportation proceedings upon completion of his term of incarceration.
18:1349 - CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT WIRE FRAUD
Outcome: JUDGMENT as to Bishwajeet Kumar Jha (1), Count(s) 1, Court imposes 60 months of incarceration. A $100 special assessment. Restitution is deferred. No fine imposed. - So Ordered by District Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 6/11/2019.(McGuire, Vickie) (Entered: 06/11/2019)