Suburban Chicago Man Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Laundering Proceeds from Telemarketing Scheme That Defrauded Elderly Victims
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois:
CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man was sentenced today to three years in federal prison for laundering cash proceeds from a telemarketing scheme that defrauded elderly victims.
Hirenkumar P. Chaudhari used a phony Indian passport, false name, and false address to open multiple bank accounts in the United States to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme. The scheme involved phone calls from people falsely claiming to be associated with, among other agencies, the Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Justice, stating that a victim’s identity had been stolen and that it was necessary to transfer money to various bank accounts, including the accounts opened by Chaudhari.
One of the victims was a retired nurse from Massachusetts who transferred a total of more than $900,000 from her bank and retirement accounts to accounts controlled by Chaudhari or others. On April 19, 2018 – one day after Chaudhari opened an account and received a $7,000 transfer from the Massachusetts victim – Chaudhari entered a bank branch in Chicago and withdrew $6,500. Chaudhari engaged in this financial transaction knowing that the money represented proceeds of unlawful activity.
Chaudhari, 29, of Des Plaines, Ill., pleaded guilty last year to a federal money laundering charge. In addition to the three-year prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis ordered Chaudhari to pay $6,500 in restitution to the Massachusetts victim.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The case was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Social Security Administration Inspector General, and Homeland Security Investigations. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kartik K. Raman and Rick D. Young.
“The defendant played a pivotal role in a telemarketing scheme by laundering money received directly from elderly victims,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “We will continue to investigate, prosecute, and hold accountable anyone who attempts to scam elderly victims out of a peaceful retirement.”
“Crimes against the elderly target some of the most vulnerable people in society,” said Inspector in Charge William Hedrick for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “The Inspection Service has been at the forefront of protecting customers from fraud schemes for many years and will continue to investigate and stop those who exploit older Americans for their own illegal gains.”
“This sentence demonstrates our commitment to hold those accountable who participate in unlawful schemes in an effort to use the good name of the Social Security Administration to prey on elderly Americans,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “This individual deliberately created bank accounts using various false identities to manage funds obtained by illegal means. We will continue to work with our investigative partners to combat Social Security-related phone scams and pursue those who swindle our citizens out of their life savings.”