• Thursday, October 21, 2021
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News

Indian American pleads guilty to call centre scam

By: Pramod Thomas

AN Indian citizen, who was illegally residing in Houston, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, acting US attorney Jennifer B Lowery has announced.

Waseem Maknojiya, 37, was involved in a telemarketing scheme via Indian call centres to extort money from victims in the US between April and October 2019, a statement from the department of justice said.

He acted as an operator in these schemes, using aliases and fake identification documents to pick up more than 70 parcels containing cash, the victims had sent. 

Under the scheme, he had convinced victims that federal agents were investigating them. 

According to the statement, Maknojiya would convince the victim that the only way to clear his or her name from the investigation was to send cash in a parcel shipped through FedEx to a name and address they provided.

Then, people like Maknojiya in the US would pick up the parcels containing money.

As part of his plea agreement, Maknojiya will pay restitution to the scheme’s identified victims. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

The final sentencing will be pronounced on December 13, and Maknojiya will remain in custody till then.

The case was investigated jointly by the FBI, social security administration and department of homeland security with the assistance of the Houston Police department and the treasury inspector general for tax administration.

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