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Docket No. 3:20-CR-18

Docket No. 3:20-CR-18

Docket No. 3:20-CR-18

US v. Ankur Khemani, et. al.

The defendants are:
Ankur Khemani
Marilyn Sterk
Gaurav Bhasin
Jennifer Sterk
Teresa Sterk Vanbaale

Case Summary: The defendants are alleged to have operated a bogus computer technical support company.  Victims would obtain the toll-free number for the phony service through either (1) a pop-up advertisement that would appear on the victim’s computer, or (2) through an Internet search for technical support services.  Victims’ calls would be routed to a call center in India, where an individual posing as a technical support technician would obtain remote access to their computers and falsely inform the victims that their computers had been targeted by hackers and/or had been infected with malware.  The phony technician would then pretend to perform repairs and/or install unneeded computer programs.  The victim would be billed between $300 and $1,500 for the bogus work performed, and would be instructed to send payment, either by U.S. Postal Service or FedEx, to an address inside the United States.  Upon receipt of the payments, defendants inside the United States would send the money to defendants in India.

Court Dates: Trial Date: The trial in this matter is currently scheduled for December 1, 2020 at 9am in the Howard H. Baker Federal Courthouse located at 800 Market Street Knoxville, TN in Courtroom 4 before District Court Judge Thomas Varlan.

Status Hearing (Pre-Trial Conference): All defendants are scheduled for Status Hearing (Pre-trial Conference) on November 02, 2020, at 11 am before Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton.

Arraignment: Defendant Ankur Khemani  is scheduled for an arraignment March 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm. Defendant Gaurav Bhasin is scheduled for an arraignment March 12, 2020 at 10am.  Defendants Marilyn Sterk,  Jennifer Sterk, and Teresa Sterk VanBaale are scheduled for an arraignment March 9, 2020 at 1:30pm. All arraignments will be held in the Howard H. Baker Federal Courthouse located at 800 Market Street Knoxville, TN in Courtroom 3A before Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton. 

Indictment:  On February 19, 2020, a federal grand jury returned a two count indictment.

Custody Status: Currently, defendants Marilyn Sterk,  Jennifer Sterk, Teresa Sterk VanBaale, and Gaurav Bhasin are not in custody.  Following their arraignments, the defendants were released from custody with conditions of reporting to the United States Probation Office.  Defendant Ankur Khemani is currently in custody.

Resources: Eastern District of Tennessee Victim Witness Program Information:

Justice Department Large Case information:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Frequently Asked Questions

Press Releases: Eastern District Press Releases

Court Documents: Khemani Indictment

Contact Information: For further information about this case, please contact the Victim Case Assistance Program at (865) 225-1635 or toll free 1-844-527-5299. 

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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