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Press Release

Indian National Sentenced To 57 Months For Defrauding Scam Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Rishi Budhadev, age 38, was sentenced yesterday to 57 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Budhadev is a citizen of India and has resided in Fredericksburg and Richmond, Virginia during visits to the United States.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Budhadev was found to be responsible at sentencing for over half a million dollars in fraudulent money transfers made to him between October and December 2015. Fraud victims transferred these funds to him through MoneyGram and Western Union wire transfers and through cash deposits to bank accounts that Budhadev opened and controlled.

The government’s investigation determined that Budhadev, working with other unnamed co-conspirators, defrauded victims using common advance-fee mass marketing scams. The government found that Budhadev received nearly 500 MoneyGram money transfers worth over $500,000, including about 300 transfers that he picked up from seven different Walmart stores around the Richmond area. Budhadev also received around 20 Western Union money transfers and over $40,000 in deposits to his bank accounts. The government’s investigation also determined that around 50 people who sent funds to Budhadev subsequently identified themselves to MoneyGram and Western Union as victims of various scams, including investment scams, romance scams, person-in-need scams, internet purchase scams, IRS tax scams, and loan scams. At sentencing, dozens more individuals who sent funds to Budhadev identified themselves as fraud victims.

At the time of his guilty plea, Budhadev admitted to receiving a series of fraudulent MoneyGram money transfers from several individuals he did not know in October 2015. He also admitted to receiving a fraudulent deposit for $9,000 in his checking account from a person he did not know. He admitted to receiving each of these transfers at the request of a coconspirator located in India. In each of these transactions, Budhadev admitted believing that the funds being transmitted to him had very likely been obtained through fraud. He admitted consciously using deliberate efforts to avoid confirming the fraudulent nature of these transactions, despite his concerns that they were fraudulent.

Budhadev admitted to using the proceeds of the fraudulent MoneyGram money transfers to purchase iPhones, which he delivered to the same coconspirator located in India in February 2016. He also admitted to personally withdrawing the $9,000 in cash from his bank account the same day that it was deposited and later delivering the cash to the same coconspirator in India around February 2016.

Budhadev maintained that he was responsible only for the fraudulent activity that he admitted to during his guilty plea. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Jennifer P. Wilson determined that the evidence showed Budhadev to be responsible for the entire amount of fraudulent activity alleged by the United States, in the amount of $584,276.84.

In addition to the sentence of 57 months, Budhadev was also ordered to pay $62,672.29 in restitution to fraud victims and to serve a period of supervised release of three years following his imprisonment. Budhadev faces potential deportation following his term of imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ravi Romel Sharma prosecuted the case.

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Updated January 25, 2024

Financial Fraud