You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 3, 2020

Telemarketing Fraudster Pleads Guilty

PROVIDENCE – An Indian national today admitted to a federal judge in Providence that he participated in a wide-ranging conspiracy based in India to defraud United States citizens, primarily seniors, by telling victims that malware had been detected on their computers and, based on that falsehood, induced the victims to direct money to him and his coconspirators as payment for purported computer protection services that were not needed or ever provided.

The conspirators, in fact, did not detect malware on victims’ computers and accepted payment without providing any protection services.

Himanshu Asri, 33, of Delhi, India, admitted that he had 325 callers routed to  call centers in India where call center operators falsely reasserted to victims that malware had been detected on their computers, and offered the victims purported computer protection services in exchange for payment.  The purpose of the false assertions was to induce people into routing money to the fraudsters.

According to information presented to the court, from as far back as January 2015, through January 2020, Asri and others working together collected, in total, approximately $940,995 from victims through their fraud, and attempted to collect between $1,500,000 and $3,000,000.  The actual loss was less than the intended loss because some of those who were targeted by Asri and his coconspirators did not send any funds to the fraudsters.

According to information presented to the court, the government and the defendant agree that many of Asri’s victims were vulnerable to fraud schemes due to age or infirmity, and the parties agree that the scheme pursued by Asri and his coconspirators were structured to exploit such persons, specifically persons over the age of 65.

Appearing today before U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Asri pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.

Asri, the 4th India-based telemarketing fraudster to be convicted in federal court in Rhode Island in the past three months, is scheduled to be sentenced on February 18, 2021. Wire fraud conspiracy is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.

The matter was investigated by the FBI.

###

 

 

 

 

Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
20-150
Updated December 3, 2020