A 41-year-old Indian-origin man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing false identity documents and operating an unlicensed money transfer business that led to USD 1.5 million in losses to victims.
Vimalkumar Trivedi of Plainfield, Indiana, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, a statement issued here on Friday said.
US District Court Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt imposed the sentence and ordered Trivedi’s supervision by the US Probation Office for three years following his release from federal prison.
Authorities said Trivedi was part of an imposter scam that used scare tactics and identity theft to scam innocent victims out of hard-earned money.
Defaulted multiple victims
According to court documents, from April 2017 through April 2021, Trivedi defrauded multiple victims, including some elderly individuals, into sending cash to various locations, including Indianapolis, through courier services.
“Trivedi and his co-conspirators in the US and India masqueraded as federal law enforcement agents and told the victims that their Social Security numbers had been found in connection with criminal activity, often narcotics trafficking. The criminals stated that the victims would be arrested if they did not immediately withdraw large sums of cash and mail it to fictitious individuals,” it said.
Trivedi tracked the packages of money sent by fraud victims to the fictitious recipients and picked them up at multiple courier locations. In each instance, he used a false identification document in the name of the listed package recipient.
In total, Trivedi possessed at least 53 false identification documents, each with his picture but containing different identifying information. He used these false identification documents to pick up at least 122 packages containing USD 901,124 in cash proceeds of the fraud.
Trivedi kept USD 60,000 stolen from victims for his use and forwarded the remainder to his associates.
Through the investigation, law enforcement agents have identified and confirmed approximately 17 victims, identified around 50 other suspected victims, and identified approximately USD 1.5 million in losses to the victims.
“International fraud conspiracies steal from hard-working people using lies, manipulation, and fear,” US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary Myers, said.
“These vicious crimes often devastate families and individuals victimised by these heartless thieves. The sentence, in this case, demonstrates that fraudsters seeking a quick buck will pay a heavy price for their crimes,” Myers added.
Special Agent in Charge Welber Hickman of the NCIS Norfolk Field Office said Trivedi’s conspirators threatened and scared innocent victims into sending him large sums of money in a vile scheme for which he deserves to be held fully accountable.