Three Men Indicted in Government Official Impersonation Scheme
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado:
Denver – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that James Albert Witte, age 68, Jason Lee Henderson, age 36, and Indian national Dhruv Jani, age 39, all formerly of Wray, Colorado, have been indicted on charges of money laundering and conspiring to commit money laundering.
According to the indictment, from January 2020 until April 2021, the three co-defendants were part of a conspiracy to launder funds obtained from a government official impersonation scheme. Victims in the United States were contacted by telephone and coerced into believing they were under investigation by “Agents” of federal law enforcement agencies (the FBI, SSA, DHS, Treasury, or U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration). It was further part of the conspiracy that the conspirators told these victims that their identities had been connected to a criminal incident, their imminent arrest and/or deportation from the United States had been ordered by law enforcement, and that the only way to avoid arrest and or deportation was to pay the “Government” large sums of money, as instructed. The victims were instructed to withdraw cash from their bank accounts and mail the cash to various addresses, which turned out to be Walgreens stores in northeastern Colorado.
Indian national Dhruv Jani allegedly paid Witte and Henderson to use fake identification cards to pick up victims’ packages of cash mailed to the Walgreens stores. The government to date has identified 54 victims who in total have lost over $7.5 million through this scheme. Of that $7.5 million, $1.5 million in cash was mailed to Colorado. Jani allegedly also threatened to kill his estranged wife in Colorado with his “own hands” due to her filing for divorce and withdrawing her support for his green card.
Witte made his initial appearance on July 27, 2022, before Magistrate Judge S. Kato Crews. Jani and Henderson made their initial appearances on July 26, 2022, also before Magistrate Judge S. Kato Crews.
This investigation is being conducted jointly with investigators from the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG), United States Postal Inspection Service, Department of Homeland Security-OIG, and the Sterling, Colorado Police Department. The District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District has also provided assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Martha A. Paluch.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.