PROVIDENCE – An Indian national has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for his participation in a scheme to steal from the bank accounts of elderly victims across the United States using their online-banking usernames and passwords, which had previously been taken from their computers.
Chirag Sachdeva, 30, admitted to the court that as a participant in a technical support telemarketing fraud scheme that targeted elderly individuals in the United States he had access to personal information that had been surreptitiously taken from victims’ computers and that that information included both personal identification information, such as social security numbers, and means of electronically accessing the victims bank accounts. Sachdeva further admitted, and the FBI’s information confirmed, that he sought to use the banking information of seven of those victims in hopes of stealing approximately $600,000 from their bank accounts. These victims had already lost approximately $4,442 to the telemarketing fraud scheme.
Sachdeva also admitted to enlisting the assistance of an acquaintance in Rhode Island to assist in the theft effort. Sachdeva provided that acquaintance information sufficient to obtain online access to the victims’ accounts as well as personal information about the victims, all of whom were over the age of 65. Sachdeva anticipated that the acquaintance would access the victims accounts and direct money from their accounts to accounts under the control of the acquaintance. Sachdeva expected to receive half of the stolen money.
Unbeknownst to Sachdeva, his acquaintance in Rhode Island was assisting the FBI in an investigation into telemarking fraud scheme. Sachedva was arrested by FBI agents on February 16, 2020, as he deplaned in Boston from a flight from India.
Sachdeva, having pled guilty to seven counts of wire fraud, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., to 33 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay $4,442 in restitution to victims of the schemes.
A second Indian national, Manish Kumar, 32, arrested by the FBI for his participation in three related fraud schemes: two telemarketing schemes, technical support fraud and refund fraud, and credit card fraud. Kumar, who is awaiting sentencing, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
Kumar admitted that he directed telephone calls to call centers in India as part of a scheme to mislead callers into believing that their computers were infected by malware and that they needed to buy computer protection services from the call center operators. Kumar also admitted to participation in the later part of this scheme as well by providing accounts where additional money taken from the victims could be wired. Those who had fallen prey to the first part of the scheme were told that they were entitled to refunds, were told that they had accidentally been sent more than they were due, and were asked to return the excess money. Because no money had in fact been sent to the victims, those who were convinced to return the “excess” money were in fact sending their own money. Additionally, Kumar admitted that he schemed to place false charges on credit cards.
Kumar, who was arrested by FBI agents on August 24, 2019, as he deplaned in New York City from a flight from India, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 20,2021.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.