CAMDEN, N.J. – Two Indian nationals today admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud by accepting illegally obtained wire transfers from victims across the country totaling over $600,000, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Zeeshan Khan, 22, and Maaz Ahmed Shamsi, 24, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph Rodriguez in Camden federal court to an information charging each with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
As part of an international fraud scheme, criminal India-based call centers utilized automated robocalls to victims with the intent of defrauding U.S. residents, particularly the elderly. After establishing contact with victims through these automated calls, other members of the conspiracy would coerce or trick the victims into sending large sums of cash through physical shipments or wire transfers to other members of the conspiracy, including Shamsi and Khan. These conspirators used a variety of schemes to convince victims to send money, including impersonating government officials from agencies such as the Social Security Administration, or impersonating law enforcement officers from the FBI or Drug Enforcement Administration, and threatened victims with severe legal or financial consequences if they did not comply. Another method utilized by the callers involved convincing the victims they were speaking with someone from a tech support company and coercing the victims into granting the caller remote access to their personal computers, and through that, to the victims’ bank accounts. By manipulating the victims’ bank accounts, the caller would convince the victims that an overpayment was made to the victims and ultimately instruct them to send money by way of mail or wire transfer to other members of the conspiracy, including Shamsi and Khan.
As part of this scheme, Shamsi and Khan are charged with receiving fraudulent wire transfers from 19 victims across the country totaling approximately $618,000.
The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the amount of the loss, whichever is greatest. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for Dec. 6, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General Office of Investigations, New York Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John F. Grasso; and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Field Office – El Dorado Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Meriah Russell of the U.S. Attorney's Office Criminal Division in Camden.