The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia Nov. 17 announced a first-of-its-kind indictment was unsealed against India-based Voice over Internet Protocol provider E Sampark and its director Gaurav Gupta.
Gupta, the release said, pushed out tens of millions of scam calls to American consumers on behalf of India-based phone scammers.
Pursuant to a consent permanent injunction, a federal court has also ordered a Florida-based server farm to stop providing E Sampark and Gupta with servers used to help perpetuate the fraud scheme, it said.
The consent permanent injunction seeks to prevent E Sampark and Gupta from further victimizing U.S. consumers through the use of the servers located in Florida, the release added.
According to U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak, the indictment, and the complaint: Gupta directed and operated E Sampark, d/b/a VG-Tech Serve Private Limited, a Voice Over IP company that allegedly sent calls from criminal India-based call centers to victims in the United States, both directly and through VoIP providers located in the United States.
From May 2015 to June 2020, the defendants passed tens of millions of scam calls from India into the United States, leading to reported victim losses of over $20 million. The callers purported to be legitimate government agencies and businesses and misled victims over the phone. The callers allegedly used multiple frauds, including Social Security impersonation, IRS impersonation, and loan scams, the release said.
As part of a Social Security scam, India-based callers posed as federal agents in order to mislead victims into believing their Social Security number was involved in crimes.
Callers threatened arrest and the loss of the victims’ assets if the victims did not send money. The callers directed victims to send cash to aliases used by other members of the fraud network, and to transfer funds via gift cards to the callers, the attorney’s office said.
As part of the IRS impersonation scam, India-based callers posed as IRS or Treasury officials and defrauded the U.S. residents into believing they owed money to the IRS or would be arrested and fined if they did not pay alleged back taxes, fines, and fees immediately.
As part of the loan scam, India-based callers misled American consumers into believing that the callers worked for lending institutions and that the victims were eligible for fictitious loans.
The India-based callers directed the victims to pay upfront fees to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan. At times, the callers directed victims to provide their bank account information and made it appear as though they had deposited funds into the victims’ accounts.
The callers then told the victims to withdraw the funds and transfer them via wire transfer and gift cards. After the victims sent the funds, the deposits that the callers supposedly made bounced. The victims received nothing in return, the release added.
Defendants Gupta and E Sampark maintained approximately 60 servers in Florida that the company used at times to connect criminal India-based callers with American consumers. The servers contained over 130,000 recordings of scam calls, including robocall voicemail recordings and conversations between the India-based scammers and U.S.-based victims, it said.