New Jersey: An Indian national was detained in New Jersey on charges of stealing fraudulently at least USD 2.3 million from elderly victims by imitating fraud prevention officers from the United States.
Ashish Bajaj, 28, was charged with fraud to conduct wire fraud and appeared before US Magistrate Judge Joe L. Webster in federal court in the Middle District of North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon. He was arrested and held in custody pending his first court session in the District of New Jersey.
He might face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of USD 250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the crime. As per court records, Bajaj and his co-conspirators acquired at least USD 2.3 million in obtained illegally funds by impersonating fraud prevention specialists from banks in the United States between April 2020 and July 2021.
He usually preyed on the elderly. They informed the victims that they operated at a “hub” for fraud departments from numerous financial institutions and that they were contacting them because their bank accounts had been stolen.
The victims were then invited to help Bajaj and his co-conspirators with their fraud prevention programs by setting up sting operations to catch the fraudsters who had supposedly hacked the victims’ bank accounts. The victims lost money as a result of the sought assistance, which included initiating different wire payments to various bank accounts, including bank accounts in India.
Numerous witnesses of this operation have been identified by law enforcement over the course of the investigation, including individuals in New Jersey and California.
This accused and his co-conspirators, according to the accusation, preyed on elderly victims by acting as trustworthy bank personnel who might assist the victims in catching scammers. Acting US Attorney Honig indicated that the defendant and his co-conspirators were the scammers.