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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 27, 2018

Houston Men Sentenced for Tax Impersonation Scam

HOUSTON – Two men have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a scheme that involved more than over 200 victims, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick along with Special Agent in Charge Gary Smith of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Vedas Engineer, 34, Bhavdip Sanghavi, 37, pleaded guilty in July and December 2017, respectfully.

Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner ordered Sanghavi to serve 96 months in prison. Engineer received the same sentence May 30, 2018. Both were also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following their sentences and are to pay more than $1 million in restitution.

In imposing the sentence, the court considered the offense which involved more than 200 victims across the United States, some of whom were elderly.

The scheme involved victim tax-payers across the United States who were pressured to pay money to resolve alleged tax debts via wire transfers. 

“Over the past five years, TIGTA has received reports of over 2.3 million impersonation related calls with over 14,000 victims reporting losses of almost $70 million, said Smith. “Victimizing taxpayers by impersonating IRS employees is a serious crime. TIGTA and our law enforcement partners are doing  everything within our power to ensure that those involved in the impersonation of IRS employees are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Those who receive such calls are urged to report the numbers to TIGTA on the agency’s website.

TIGTA conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Celia Moyer is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated August 29, 2018