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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Out of state group charged in $11M Indian call center fraud ring

HOUSTON – Three individuals have been charged for their roles in a multi-year fraud and money laundering conspiracy involving call centers, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Amirsinh Diwan, 42, Des Plaines, Illinois, is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Yvonne Y. Ho at 1:30 p.m. today. Zaheen Rafikbhai Malvi, 28, Heber Springs, Arkansas, is expected to appear at 2 p.m.

Also charged is Sohil Usmangani Vahora, 37, also of Des Plaines. He is expected in Houston at a later date.

The 11-count indictment, returned Sept. 7, and unsealed upon their arrests Sept. 22, alleges that from January 2017 to August 2020, the individuals and other co-conspirators allegedly engaged in a criminal fraud conspiracy originating from call centers located in India.

The callers impersonated U.S. government officials and tricked victims into sending them money to safeguard their assets, avoid arrest or prevent their government benefits from being cut off, according to the charges.

Victims allegedly sent money in the form of gift cards by providing redemption codes over the phone and mailed cash in packages sent to FedEx and UPS pick-up locations. The indictment alleges co-conspirators, known as runners, liquidated victims’ gift cards at retail locations in the United States or used fake identification documents to pick up their packages containing cash at Walgreens locations.

They allegedly defrauded over $11 million from victims as a result of the conspiracy.

All three individuals are charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering. Vahora is also charged with seven counts of mail fraud, while Diwan and Malvi are charged with two and four counts of mail fraud, respectively.

If convicted, all three individuals face up to 20 years in federal prison.

The Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations in Houston and Fayetteville, Arkansas and the FBI with the assistance of the Heber Springs Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Bauman and Kate Suh are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated October 12, 2022