BOSTON (USDOJ) – An Illinois man, who previously lived in Massachusetts, was sentenced today in connection with a wire fraud scheme whereby victims were told they owed money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Ashokkumar Patel, a/k/a Andy Patel, 30, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and formerly of Worcester and Plainville, Mass., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 40 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the victims in an amount to be determined. In June 2019, Patel pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
From December 2013 to October 2014, Patel was part of a conspiracy whereby victims in the United States were contacted by individuals, primarily in India, and falsely told that they owed money to the IRS. The victims were told that in order to avoid imminent arrest they had to purchase MoneyPak, or other types of prepaid stored value cards, load thousands of dollars onto the cards and provide the serial numbers to the callers. After doing so, the victims’ money was quickly transferred to prepaid debit cards, such as Green Dot Debit Cards, which were then used to purchase money orders. Patel was responsible for purchasing the prepaid debit cards, using them to purchase money orders and then depositing the purchased money orders into various bank accounts, including his own. The loss amount to victims tied to Patel totaled $881,622.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Lelling’s Office prosecuted the case.