New Delhi, India, June 19, 2023 - A joint operation by Delhi Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Interpol busted a call centre gang operating from India which scammed US citizens out of $20 million by impersonating a high-ranking officer from the US Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA), according to Delhi Police. The team arrested six individuals. It includes four in India, one in Uganda, and one in Canada.
The arrested individuals are Vatsal Mehta, Parth Armarkar, Deepak Arora, and Prashant Kumar. Mehta is believed to be the mastermind behind the operation, while Armarkar managed call centres in Uganda and India. The gang would impersonate a senior DEA officer named Uttam Dhillon and contact potential victims.
HCS Dhaliwal, Special Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police Special Cell said, "The FBI informed us of Parth Armarkar, who is originally from Gujarat but has been living in Uganda for a long time. In Uganda, he ran call centres. US's DEA has had a senior officer, Uttam Dhillon. He (Armarkar) impersonated his identity and called the potential victims," as per media reports.
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Impersonation, scam technique
Their common approach involved informing the targets that child pornographic material had been confiscated at the US-Mexico border, claiming that their contact information was found during the investigation.
To avoid serious legal consequences, the victims were coerced into paying a penalty.
The gang carefully selected targets, primarily wealthy individuals unlikely to report the scam to law enforcement agencies.
Even a cursory internet search would verify the existence of a real Uttam Dhillon working as a DEA administrator, adding credibility to their impersonation.
The gang conducted thorough research and targeted victims based on factors such as wealth, lack of technical knowledge, and loneliness.
While the gang primarily operated from Uganda, they occasionally made calls from India. In one instance, Armarkar allegedly requested a target in India to pay the penalty with gold bars instead of money.
Regardless of the victim's location within the United States, the gang ensured someone would collect the payment.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About Delhi Police:
The Delhi Police, is the main law and order agency for the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT). It does not have jurisdiction over the adjoining areas of the National Capital Region.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a governmental agency belonging to the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency (counterintelligence). Also, it is the government agency responsible for investigating crimes on Native American reservations in the United States under the Major Crimes Act. The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime.
Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2023
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