Pennsylvania man who received more than $1 million via mail through government imposter scheme sentenced to prison
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Bristol, Pennsylvania, man was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 36 months in prison for multiple counts of mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy. He was also ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in restitution.
Sagarkumar Suresh Patel, 29, conspired with others to cause victims to mail bulk amounts of cash by pretending to be federal government officials.
According to court documents, co-conspirators would call victims and identify themselves as law enforcement officers or attorneys working with the federal government. They would threaten victims by falsely informing them they had active warrants for their arrest, and that their bank accounts and social security numbers had been compromised.
Co-conspirators would tell the victims that to avoid losing money from their bank accounts they needed to withdraw large sums of cash from their bank.
The victims were told to insert the cash between the pages of several reading magazines and then place each magazine in a bubble-wrapped envelope before placing the wrapped magazines in a cardboard box. Victims mailed packages to Walgreens and other mail depositories to aliases used by Patel.
In June 2021, Dublin police officers intercepted a package mailed to Patel at the Walgreens on Hospital Drive that contained $22,000 in cash inserted into magazines. When officers searched Patel’s vehicle, they discovered another magazine package containing $25,000 in cash, $30,000 in a white plastic bag that was wrapped in bubble wrap, a plastic Donatos pizza bag that contained $31,500 and a Southern First bank bag that contained $22,500.
“I listened to three of the victims who participated in today’s sentencing hearing, said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “As each of them made clear, the defendant’s illegal actions nearly wiped out all of their life savings. The defendant’s actions caused so much pain and despair to numerous people. A sentence of imprisonment was definitely warranted in this case. This office will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue and prosecute those who engage in this type of criminal activity.”
Patel was charged federally in June 2021 and pleaded guilty in November 2021.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and Dublin Police Chief Justin Paez announced the sentence imposed today by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Algenon L. Marbley. Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth F. Affeldt is representing the United States in this case.
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