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Case Number: 8:18-cr-00468-VMC-JSS
Judge: Virginia Hernandez
Court: United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Hillsborough County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Rachel K. Jones
Defendant's Attorney: Timothy James Fitzgerald
Tampa, FL - Second Foreign National Sentenced To More Than Eight Years For Role In International Call Center Scam
Hemalkumar Shah (27, citizen of India, residing in Tampa), was sentenced to eight years and six months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft related to his participation in an Indian call center scam. As part of Shah’s sentence, the court also entered a money judgment of $80,000.
Shah had pleaded guilty on January 28, 2019.
According to court documents, from 2014 through at least 2016, Shah conspired with U.S.-based co-conspirators and India-based call centers to extort money from U.S. residents by impersonating IRS officers and misleading victims to believe that they owed money to the IRS and would be arrested and fined if they did not pay their alleged back taxes immediately. The conspirators collected the fraud proceeds by (1) withdrawing cash from prepaid cards purchased and funded by victims; (2) hiring other conspirators (runners) to retrieve money wired by the victims to those runners; and/or (3) hiring runners to open bank accounts into which victims deposited fraud proceeds. The defendants collected the proceeds by providing the runners with the victims’ names, locations, and amounts paid. The runners were directed to retrieve the fraud proceeds in cash and turn the funds over to the defendants, often less a payment to the runner for opening the account or conducting the transaction.
Four others previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme. On March 25, 2019, Alejandro Juarez was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, and on March 29, 2019, Nishitkumar Patel was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months’ imprisonment. Sharvil Patel and Brenda Dozier are currently awaiting sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Tampa Police Department, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Outcome: JUDGMENT as to Hemalkumar Shah (1), Count(s) 1 and 17, Imprisonment: 102 months. This term consists of a 78 month term as to Count One, and a 24 month term as to Count Seventeen, to run consecutively to Count One. Supervised Release: 36 months. This term consists of a 36 month term as to Count One and a 12 month term as to Count Seventeen, all such terms to run concurrently. Fine: Waived; Special Assessments: $200.00; Restitution: $1,388,760.73. Counts Two through Sixteen, and Eighteen are dismissed on motion of the United States. Signed by Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington on 4/18/2019. (TWL) (Entered: 04/18/2019)