Two Florida men were among 21 people sentenced to prison last week in a multimillion-dollar India-based phone scam operation.
Dilipkumar R. Patel, 39, of Ocala was sentenced to serve 52 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of conspiracy.
Praful Patel, 50, of Fort Myers was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release on one count of conspiracy.
The scam was active from 2012 to 2016, the Justice Department said Friday. A person posing as an Internal Revenue Service or immigration official was on the phone, threatening arrest, deportation or other penalties if the victims did not immediately pay their debts with prepaid cards or wire transfers.
Thousands of victims across the U.S. lost “hundreds of millions of dollars,” the Justice Department said.
“The stiff sentences imposed this week represent the culmination of the first-ever large-scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call center scam industry,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a news release. “This case represents one of the most significant victories to date in our continuing efforts to combat elder fraud and the victimization of the most vulnerable members of the U.S. public.”
The 21 people sentenced last week could be in prison for up to 20 years.
Three other people were sentenced earlier this year for laundering proceeds for the conspiracy.
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