PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Two men have been arrested as a result of a three-month investigation into a national organized fraud scheme, the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday.
In a news release to 22News, DA Andrea Harrington’s Office said 27-year-old Jitendra Chaudhari of Williamstown and 24-year-old Ajaykumar Chaudhari of Pownal, Vermont, are facing charges of larceny by false pretenses over $1,200, larceny from a person over the age of 65 and conspiracy.
Each charge carries a state prison sentence of up to five years. Both men are expected to be arraigned Wednesday in Northern Berkshire District Court. Police believe both men were involved in a multi-state scheme intended to defraud people through phone schemes.
The DA’s office said in March, several police departments alerted Adams Police that people in their communities reported sending thousands of dollars in cash to addresses in Adams in potentially fraudulent terms.
This resulted in the launch of a three-month multi-agency, multi-state investigation involving the Berkshire DA’s Office, Adams Police, Lanesborough, North Adams, Pittsfield, Williamstown, Hoosick Falls, N.Y., and the Berkshire Sheriff’s Office.
In total, 27 search warrants were executed throughout the investigation, including searches at businesses and a residence where police seized about $50,000.
Authorities also accounted for about $300,000 allegedly sent because of potential fraud and seized it. The money has since been returned to fraud victims or is being held as evidence pending the ongoing investigation.
The DA’s Office said the investigation into the organized scheme is ongoing and there may be additional arrests.
If you believe you were scammed, you are encouraged to contact your local police department.