New York: A 40-year-old Indian national in the US state of Colorado has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to commit money laundering, and ordered to pay $1,163,947.28 in restitution.
Dhruv Jani was part of a conspiracy to launder funds obtained from a government official imposter scheme, starting in January 2020, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced on Friday.
Sentenced by US District Court Judge Raymond P Moore on September 21, Jani will be deported to India after serving his term of incarceration.
“This sentence holds Mr Jani accountable for his malicious acts of orchestrating Social Security-related and government imposter scams that preyed upon vulnerable persons,” said Gail S Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.
According to the plea agreement, victims in the US were contacted by telephone and coerced into believing they were under investigation by “agents” of federal law enforcement agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Treasury, or Drug Enforcement Administration.
Victims were told that their identities had been connected to a criminal incident, that their imminent arrest and/or deportation from the US had been ordered by law enforcement.
They were told them that the only way to avoid arrest and or deportation was to pay the ‘government’ large sums of money.
The ‘agent’ then convinced the victim to package and ship the cash to alleged government officials via Federal Express or United Parcel Service.
Many of these same victims were also directed to mail packages of cash to individuals in other states.
“We must protect our elderly and our vulnerable citizens,” said US Attorney Cole Finegan.
“Making victims fearful, this defendant created a scheme that cheated them out of more than a million dollars. For this, he will now spend years in federal prison.”
The investigation was jointly conducted by investigators from the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General (OIG), US Postal Inspection Service, Department of Homeland Security-OIG, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Colorado Police Department.