By Arul Louis
New Aug 6 (IANS) An Indian citizen has been sentenced to prison for his role in a fraud run with accomplices in India that ripped off about 200 Americans, according to a federal prosecutor’s office.
Anikkhan Yusufkhan Pathan, 29, who came to the US on a student visa, was sentenced on Tuesday by senior federal judge Liam O’Grady to 15 months, the Eastern Virginia federal prosecutor’s spokesperson said.
The judge at the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, also ordered him to pay $149,854 in restitution.
Federal prosecutor Zachary Terwilliger said: “Pathan’s conspirators located in India exploited victims who were trying to pay mortgages and apply for loans. Individuals should not have to be worried about being scammed when trying to complete basic, and essential, financial tasks.”
According to court documents, the accused found out financial dealings of the victims like bank loan applications, home mortgage and other business transactions and then tricked them into sending money to fictitious identities.
Pathan had set up at least 67 fake IDs under different names to collect about $150,000 and after keeping some for himself sent to rest to conspirators in India or deposited them into bank accounts of unknown people, according to prosecutors.
A string of cases of such fraud linked to India is being uncovered by law enforcement in the US dealing a blow to the country’s reputation among theApublic.
Last month, an Indian-origin couple was charged with phone scam money laundering to the tune of $400,000, while another man was sentenced two years for picking up $140,000 in a scam.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)