Two NRIs, Alpesh Kumar Patel, 31, and Vijay Kumar Patel, 40 were found guilty before a US District Judge in New Jersey to charges of conspiring to commit the wire fraud. The guilty were reportedly involved in conspiring to extort their victims to recharge prepaid debit cards with funds that were stolen as part of a scam of over $5.8 million.
The 'modus operandi' of the crime was to first purchase the reloadable Green Dot Cards and register them on someone else’s name, and then the guilty would get in touch with the potential victims by phone and use threats or deceit to prompt them to reload money on the MoneyPak cards, that are used along with allocated PIN codes to add funds to the Green Dot Cards.
The two men admitted that they obtained the Green Dot Cards and have used them to purchase the money orders, which they deposited into the banks associated with the scheme. They both also admitted that from the tenure September 2013 to March 2014, they were a part of this conspiracy. The Department of Justice said Phone numbers and IP addresses connected with the conspiracy were tied to approximately 2,500 Green Dot Cards, which were funded in excess of $5.8 million.
The charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the crime.