An Indian national was arrested in New Jersey on charges of acquiring at least $2.3 million from elderly victims through deception.
An Indian national was arrested in New Jersey on allegations of defrauding elderly people out of at least $2.3 million by impersonating fraud prevention officers from the United States.
Ashish Bajaj, 28, was charged with conspiracy to conduct wire fraud and appeared before US Magistrate Judge Joe L. Webster in federal court in the Middle District of North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon. He was arrested and held in custody pending his first court appearance in the District of New Jersey.
He could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the crime.
According to court records, Bajaj and his co-conspirators acquired at least $2.3 million in fraudulently obtained funds by impersonating fraud prevention representatives from banks in the United States between April 2020 and July 2021.
He usually preyed on the elderly. They claimed to be from a “hub” for numerous financial institutions’ fraud departments, and that they were contacting the victims because their bank accounts had been stolen.
The victims were then encouraged to help Bajaj and his co-conspirators with their fraud prevention efforts by setting up “sting” operations to catch the fraudsters who had supposedly hacked the victims’ bank accounts. The victims lost money as a result of the sought assistance, which included initiating different wire transactions to various bank accounts, including bank accounts in India.
Multiple victims of this operation have been identified by law enforcement over the course of the investigation, including individuals in New Jersey and California.
This defendant and his co-conspirators, according to the complaint, preyed on elderly victims by acting as trusted bank personnel who might assist the victims in catching fraudsters. Acting US Attorney Honig claimed, “In truth, the defendant and his co-conspirators were the fraudsters.”