Former Massachusetts Man Arraigned on Charges Linked to IRS Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – An Illinois man, who previously lived in Massachusetts, was arraigned today in federal court in Worcester on charges associated with a wire fraud scheme whereby victims were told they owed money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Ashokkumar Patel, a/k/a Andy Patel, 28, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and formerly of Plainville, Mass., was indicted on June 14, 2018, on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. In June 2017, Patel was arrested and charged by criminal complaint. He was released from custody on conditions.
According to the charging documents, from December 2013 to October 2014, Patel was part of a conspiracy whereby victims in the United States were contacted by individuals, primarily in India, and falsely told that they owed money to the IRS. The victims were told that in order to avoid imminent arrest, they had to purchase MoneyPak, or other types of prepaid stored value cards, load thousands of dollars onto the cards, and provide the serial numbers to the callers. After doing so, the victims’ money was quickly transferred to a prepaid debit card, such as Green Dot Debit Cards, and then the prepaid debit cards were used to purchase money orders. Patel was responsible for purchasing the prepaid debit cards, using the prepaid debit cards to purchase money orders and depositing the purchased money orders into various bank accounts, including his own.
The charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud each provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.