Three Defendants Indicted for Transnational Fraud Scheme
Callers Based in India Impersonated Federal Employees and Netted Over $2 Million From Victims Across the United States
An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip charging Kamal Zafar, Jamal Zafar and Armughanul Asar with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money in furtherance of their fraudulent scheme directed at thousands of individuals in the United States. The defendants were arrested this morning in the Eastern District of New York, and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), and Kenneth Jackson, Commissioner, Garden City Police Department (GCPD), announced the charges.
As alleged in the indictment, between January 2018 and September 2018, the defendants, together with co-conspirators operating from call centers in India, targeted victims in the United States, and falsely claimed to be employees of the IRS, the Social Security Administration or the Drug Enforcement Administration. The victims were informed that they owed a sum of money to the United States government or one of its agencies and that they would be arrested if the debts were not promptly paid. After victims wired payments to bank accounts that the defendants had opened in the names of inactive and shell corporations to receive the fraud proceeds, the funds were withdrawn and laundered through additional bank accounts. The scheme is estimated to have netted over $2 million from victims across the United States.
“The defendants’ transnational fraud scheme utilized callers falsely claiming to be federal employees and threatening arrest to extract payment from their victims,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office, together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, will continue working tirelessly to hold accountable scam artists who perpetrate telephone frauds.”
“These defendants remotely used ruthless scare tactics and threatened innocent citizens including the elderly, widows, and professionals under the guise of having to pay off unfounded financial obligations to the U.S. government for their own personal gain,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “IRS-CI will continue to apprehend those who victimize the public while posing as government officials both abroad and here at home.”
“The victimization of American taxpayers by individuals impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees is a serious crime,” stated TIGTA Inspector General George. “I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the New York City Police Department and the Garden City Police Department on their outstanding efforts resulting in this indictment.”
“These indictments reflect the lengths that criminals will go in order to fraudulently separate honest people from their hard earned money,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill. “I congratulate the NYPD detectives, our law enforcement partners, and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for their hard work in dismantling this illegal operation.”
“This case is an excellent example of collaboration and cooperation between multiple law enforcement agencies, which included federal, city and local authorities in the arrest of the participants of a major scheme to defraud numerous victims throughout the United States,” stated GCPD Commissioner Jackson.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’ Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Charles P. Kelly and Diane Leonardo are in charge of the prosecution.
South Huntington, New York
Huntington, New York
College Point, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-385 (SJF)