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Indian-American pleads guilty to money-laundering charges


Washington, January 12

An Indian-American from Chicago has pleaded guilty to the charges of laundering money from a telemarketing scheme that defrauded elderly victims, the Department of Justice has said.

Hirenkumar P Chaudhari, 27, faces up to 20 years in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 1.

Chaudhari admitted in a plea agreement that he used a phony Indian passport, false name, and false address to open multiple bank accounts in the US to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

The scheme involved phone calls from people falsely claiming to be associated with, among other agencies, the Social Security Administration and US Department of Justice, stating that a victim’s identity had been stolen and that it was necessary to transfer money to various bank accounts, including the accounts opened by Chaudhari.

One of the victims was an elderly woman from Massachusetts who transferred a total of more than USD 900,000 from her bank and retirement accounts to accounts controlled by Chaudhari or others.

On April 19, 2018 – one day after Chaudhari opened an account and received a USD 7,000 transfer from the Massachusetts victim – Chaudhari entered a bank branch in Chicago and withdrew USD 6,500, the plea agreement states.

Chaudhari admitted in the plea agreement that he engaged in this financial transaction knowing that the money represented proceeds of unlawful activity. PTI


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