Indian national arrested in Montana admits role in computer-hacking scheme that stole $150,000 from Kalispell woman
MISSOULA — An Indian national today admitted to his role in stealing $150,000 from an elderly Montana woman through a computer-hacking scheme, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Sukhdev Vaid, 24, of India, pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Vaid faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Feb. 14, 2024. Vaid was detained pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that a large enterprise originating from India was involved in stealing money from the elderly in the United States. In February, various fraudsters stole $150,000 from a 73-year-old woman, identified as Jane Doe, in Kalispell. The fraud occurred because of a pop-up notice that appeared on Jane Doe’s computer screen. The notice explained that Jane Doe was “hacked” and for her to call a number for customer support. Jane Doe complied, and fraudsters directed her to remove cash from her bank accounts for safe keeping at the “Fed.” Jane Doe complied and gave $150,000 in cash to the fraudsters.
In March, Jane Doe told the fraudsters she still had $50,000 in cash, which was a ruse set up by the FBI. Vaid traveled to Montana, along with co-defendant Eddly Joseph, of Gainesville, Florida, to steal the money from Jane Doe. Law enforcement arrested the pair when they arrived to collect the money. The investigation determined that the fraudsters remotely accessed Jane Doe’s computer, using UltraViewer, which they installed on her computer.
Joseph pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud and is pending sentencing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon is prosecuting the case. The FBI and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.
Clair J. Howard
Public Affairs Officer