A South Abington Twp. man who was part of a phony Internal Revenue Service collection scheme that scammed nearly $900,000 from victims faces almost two decades in federal prison.
Hiteshkumar Patel, 52, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani to serve 19½ years in prison on fraud- and identity theft-related charges.
From August 2015 to May 2016, Patel was involved in an international conspiracy and devised a scheme to defraud that included individuals who falsely represented themselves as IRS agents, as well as individuals associated with an illegitimate online loan business, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Patel and others called people throughout the United States, said they were from the IRS and threatened their victims with wage garnishment, visits by federal agents and arrest if they didn’t immediately pay money owed to the agency, investigators said.
Victims of the online fraud scheme were told they had to pay fees in advance to receive a loan. In some cases, the victims were told their loans could not be processed until they satisfied outstanding IRS debt.
All of the victims were instructed to send payments directly to Patel or his co-conspirators via money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram, authorities said.
Patel, who a federal grand jury indicted in June 2017, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and aggravated identity theft
Mariani described Patel’s crimes as reprehensible and “lacking in human decency.” Telephone schemes and online fraud “have become a scourge in our society,” the judge said.
As part of his sentence, Patel will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison term. Mariani also ordered him to make restitution of $896,112.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-348-9132