Tracy Man Enters Guilty Plea To Fraud Charges In Phantom Debt Collection Case
SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Kirit D. Patel, 71, of Tracy, pleaded guilty today to four counts of mail fraud and wire fraud, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Patel was the owner and president of Broadway Global Master, a company that purported to be a debt collection company. From 2010 to 2012, callers operating from outside the United States placed more than two million phone calls to consumers in which they impersonated law enforcement officers and threatened to arrest the consumers if they did not provide immediate payment for online payday loans that the callers claimed were delinquent. In most cases, the consumers did not owe delinquent loans and the callers did not have the authority to collect the debts from those who did owe any balances on payday loans. Broadway Global Master processed consumers’ payments when they eventually relented and paid the non-existent debts to avoid the continued threat of arrest. From 2010 to 2012, Patel’s company received more than $5 million in payments from consumers, most of which was immediately transferred out of the country.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew G. Morris is prosecuting the criminal case. In April 2012, the Federal Trade Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Patel and his two companies (2:12-cv-855-JAM) alleging violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Patel is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge John A. Mendez on February 10, 2015. Patel faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.