Bay Area Man Pleads Guilty to Operating Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business that Facilitated International Fraud Scheme
LOS ANGELES – An Alameda County resident has pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business that provided essential services to a fraudulent technical-support company, the Justice Department announced today.
Dapinderjeet Singh, 24, of Newark, California, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to a one-count felony information before United States District Judge Percy Anderson.
Singh admitted that he owned and operated Alpha Technologies LLC, which claimed to offer technical-support services to the public. In reality, Alpha was simply a conduit for funds to be transmitted from victims of a technical-support fraud scam to the scam’s perpetrators.
According to court documents, an India-based call center lied to victims about virus and hacking attacks on their computers and induced victims to send money to Alpha Technologies, purportedly to fix their computers. Singh, through Alpha Technologies, received victim proceeds and forwarded them to India-based scheme operators.
“This defendant provided an essential service to criminals behind an international fraud by providing what appeared to be a legitimate business, but in reality was simply a funnel to direct stolen funds to con artists,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “This case demonstrates how we dismantle criminal organizations by targeting those who orchestrate the illegal conduct, as well as those who play key roles to facilitate the delivery of ill-gotten gains.”
“The defendant provided crucial assistance to foreign fraudsters who stole from consumers, including many elderly victims, under the guise of technical support,” said Ethan P. Davis, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Time and time again, the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch has shown that both perpetrators and facilitators of elder fraud will be held accountable.”
“Mr. Singh admitted to his role in a scheme to defraud vulnerable computer users, including many elderly victims, who were led to believe their computers had been compromised and who paid for the purported expertise of others,” said John F. Bennett, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Computer users should avoid unsolicited offers they receive by phone or online and seek technical assistance from trusted sources only, particularly when demands for cash are being made.”
“Fraud schemes that cheat vulnerable consumers, especially the elderly, will not be tolerated,” said Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The Antitrust Division is pleased to lend the time and talent of its prosecutors to the Elder Justice Initiative.”
Singh admitted that he worked with India-based scheme operators from late 2016 until February 2018. In addition to opening Alpha Technologies as a corporate entity, Singh maintained post office boxes that were used to receive payments sent by victims, and he forwarded proceeds to scheme operators in India and elsewhere. Through Alpha, Singh engaged in a money transmitting business that was neither licensed by the State of California, nor registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Singh is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Anderson on November 2.
Three other individuals previously have been charged in this investigation. In 2019, Indian citizens Aman Mehndiratta and Aman Kheira were charged with wire fraud in connection with the scheme. The criminal complaint alleges that Mehndiratta and Kheira recruited another California resident – Parmjit Brar – to serve as a payment gateway for the scheme. According to the criminal complaint, many victims lost hundreds of dollars, while some elderly victims lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 2019, Parmjit Brar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on September 28 by Judge Anderson.
This matter was investigated by the FBI.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Ranee A. Katzenstein, Chief of the Major Frauds Section; DOJ Trial Attorney Justin Murphy of the Antitrust Division; and Senior Counsel Richard Goldberg of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch.