An Indian-American man has been sentenced to three years in prison in the US for laundering the proceeds of a telemarketing scheme that defrauded senior citizens. Hiren Kumar P. Chaudhari, 29, of Illinois, pleaded guilty to federal money laundering charges last year, John R. Lausch, US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in announcing the sentence Thursday. Chaudhri played a key role in the telemarketing scheme by laundering money obtained directly from elderly victims, he said.
According to federal prosecutors, Chaudhari used a fake Indian passport, a fake name, and a fake address to open several U.S. bank accounts to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme. The scam involved phone calls from people falsely claiming to be connected to the Social Security Administration and the US Department of Justice, among others, claiming that the victim’s identity had been stolen and money needed to be transferred to various bank accounts, including accounts opened by Chaudhari.
“One of the victims was a retired nurse from Massachusetts who transferred a total of more than $900,000 from her bank and retirement accounts to accounts controlled by Chaudhari or others,” the Justice Department said. On April 19, 2018, one day after Chaudhari opened an account and received a transfer of $7,000 from a victim in Massachusetts, Chaudhari entered a Chicago bank branch and withdrew $6,500. “Chandhari engaged in this financial transaction knowing that the money represented the proceeds of illegal activity,” it said.