NEW JERSEY – Two Indian nationals were sentenced to prison Tuesday for their roles in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud by accepting illegally obtained wire transfers from victims across the country totaling over $600,000, according to acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.
Zeeshan Khan, 22, and Maaz Ahmed Shamsi, 24, were each sentenced to 27 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Joseph Rodriguez in Camden federal court. Both previously pleaded guilty before Judge Rodriguez 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, 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, According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court.
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.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Shamsi and Khan to three years of supervised release.