Indian national pleads guilty to defrauding of millions of dollars

Washington: An Indian national on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the charges of defrauding various telephone providers and insurance companies of millions of dollars by using stolen or fake identities to submit fraudulent claims for replacement cellular devices and then reselling those devices outside the United States, a US attorney said.

US Attorney Philip R Sellinger said Parag Bhavsar, 42, of Newark, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transfer of stolen property.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 3 next year.

According to documents, from June 2013 through June 2019, Bhavsar was involved in a widespread scheme to defraud cellular telephone providers and insurance companies using the US Postal Service mail system, as well as other third-party mail carriers.

He and his conspirators used stolen and fake identities to submit false claims of lost, stolen or damaged cellular telephones, as well as other devices, in order to obtain replacement devices.

Bhavsar and his conspirators maintained a network of mailboxes and storage units across the United States, including in New Jersey, where the replacement devices would be shipped and then held before being sold to third parties outside the United States.

Bhavsar and his conspirators’ scheme resulted in millions of dollars of losses to the cellular telephone providers and insurance companies, federal prosecutors said.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

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