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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: All defendants in this case have signed plea agreements and therefore there will not be a trial in this matter.

Sentencing Hearings: Defendant Ankur Khemani is set for a Sentencing Hearing on February 13, 2023, at 3pm; however this date is being reset by the Court.  The hearing date will be updated once a new date is provided.  Defendant Marilyn Sterk is set for a Sentencing Hearing on April 20, 2023, at 10am.  Defendant Teresa Sterk Van Baale is set for a Sentencing Hearing on April 20, 2023, at 11am.  Jennifer Sterk is set for a Sentencing Hearing on April 20, 2023, at 2pm. Defendant Gaurav Bhasin is set for a Sentencing Hearing May 31, 2023, at 2pm.  All the sentencing hearings will be held in Courtroom 4 before District Court Judge Thomas Varlan.

Change of Plea Hearing: All defendants have plead guilty and are pending sentencing. .  

Arraignment: The defendant, Ankur Khemani was arraigned on March 17, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. The defendant Gaurav Bhasin was arraigned on March 12, 2020, at 10 a.m. The defendants Marilyn Sterk, Jennifer Sterk, and Teresa Sterk VanBaale were arraigned on March 9, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.

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
                                         Ankur Khemani Plea Agreement
                                         Marilyn Sterk Plea Agreement
                                         Gaurav Bhasin Plea Agreement
                                         Jennifer Sterk Plea Agreement
                                         Teresa Vanbaale Plea Agreement

Contact Information: For further information about this case, please contact the Victim Case Assistance Program toll free at 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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