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Press Release

Two Indian Nationals Charged in Elder Fraud Gold Bar Courier Scam

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

Cleveland – Anil Mangukia, 39, of Edison, New Jersey, and Yash Navadia, 25 of Secaucus, New Jersey, who were Indian Nationals, were both indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with money laundering conspiracy for their roles in an elder fraud gold bar courier scam (“Courier Scam”) targeting older Americans. They allegedly stole more than $127,000 and attempted to steal an additional $650,000 from a victim in Warrren, Ohio.

According to court documents, coconspirators posed as a customer service employee at a company or bank. They contacted a victim—typically an elder person—and falsely claimed that the victim’s account was at risk or had been compromised by a hacking event or similar computer intrusion. The purported customer service employee then referred the victim to another perpetrator who posed as a government agent, claiming that the fake government agent would assist the victim in avoiding or mitigating the effects of the account compromise. The fake government agent would discuss the incident with the victim, validate the false story told by the purported customer service or bank employee, and instruct the victim to either (1) move the victim’s money to another account that the perpetrators controlled, or (2) purchase gold or other valuable items and move them to the perpetrators’ account, claiming that the new account was secure and safe from the purported hackers. The perpetrators then used the stolen funds for their own benefit, without the victim’s knowledge or consent.

According to court documents, the defendants caused their victims to engage in several different types of transfers, such as the following: (i) withdrawing currency, converting it to cryptocurrency, and transferring the cryptocurrency to the coconspirators, who claimed they would deposit it into secure accounts; (ii) initiating bank transfers directly from victim’s accounts to acquire things of value that were handed over or otherwise transferred to coconspirators, who claimed that they would then convert those items into funds and deposit them in a secure account for the victim.

According to court documents, the defendants and their coconspirators also obtained proceeds from the Courier Scam directly from victims, traveling to meet victims either at their homes or nearby designated locations. There, the victims would give the defendants and their coconspirators U.S. currency, gold bars, or gold coins under false pretenses, persuaded that the perpetrators would secure the victims’ property.

“Our Office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who commit financial scams that defraud our elderly citizens of their hard-earned savings,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko. “Financial fraud schemes of any variety cause serious financial harm to our community members, but those that target the elderly are particularly reprehensible. We encourage all members of the public to remain vigilant against such hoaxes and report suspected scams to law enforcement.”

“The FBI is focused on finding and investigating criminals preying on the trust of older Americans,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Greg Nelsen. “Scams are becoming more complex, with several layers of deceit in their ploy and bad actors working in groups to give the illusion of legitimacy. The FBI will not yield in its pursuit to identify these criminals and dismantle scam and fraud-based networks.”

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

This investigation was conducted by the Cleveland Division of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Yasmine Makridis and Brian M. McDonough.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eastern time. English, Spanish and other languages are available.


Thomas Weldon

Updated March 27, 2024

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud