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Press Release

South Abington Man Charged In Fraud, Extortion And Identity Theft Scheme

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

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Hiteshkumar Patel, age 51, a resident of South Abington Township, Pennsylvania, was indicted on June 20, 2017, by a federal grand jury with multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, extortion and aggravated identity theft charges. Patel’s initial appearance is scheduled for June 29, 2017, before United States Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr., in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that beginning in or about August 2015 through May 2016, Patel executed a scheme whereby individuals falsely represented themselves as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, as well as individuals associated with an illegitimate online loan business. The victims were told that they had to immediately make a monetary payment in order to satisfy outstanding IRS tax debt and/or IRS penalty fees. Victims were told that there would be severe consequences if they did not immediately comply, such as federal agents knocking on their door, notification to employers, garnishment of wages, and even arrest.


Victims of the online loan fraud scheme were instructed that in order to receive the proceeds of their on-line loan application, they had to first make monetary payments associated with the processing of the application, such as fees for expediting the loan and insurance. Some victims of the loan fraud scheme were also told that outstanding IRS debt had to be satisfied before their loan application could be processed.


All of the victims were instructed to remit monetary payments to a number of different individuals via the U.S. Mail, Western Union, MoneyGram, and/or RIA (Walmart to Walmart). It is alleged that monetary payments were received by Patel, or by members of the unlawful telemarketing organization and unindicted co-conspirators. It is estimated that Patel and his coconspirators received hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims of the scheme.


The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and remains an ongoing investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski is prosecuting the case.


Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses are 20 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated June 23, 2017

Identity Theft