WASHINGTON Three Indians have been charged in a million-dollar fraud scheme in the US in which they remotely accessed computers belonging to senior citizens without authorisation, caused the machines to malfunction and lured the victims’ into purchasing phony computer repair services.
Gunjit Malhotra, 30, Gurjeet Singh 22 and Jas Pal 54, have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to access a protected computer in furtherance of fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said.
Berman said that for several years the three exploited elderly victims by remotely accessing their computers and convincing them to pay for computer support services they did not need, and which were never actually provided. The conspiracy netted at least $1.3 million for the three men, who were arrested and presented before magistrate judge here last week.
Berman said by targeting the elderly, the three men took advantage of some of the society’s must vulnerable members, and they now face criminal consequences for their alleged predatory conduct.
The three men engaged in a scheme in which they and their co-conspirators purported to provide computer repair services to victims located throughout the US, many of whom are elderly.
The defendants and their co-conspirators provided their victims’ false and misleading information to extract payment for computer repair services. They claimed to be associated with major technology software companies when, in fact, they were not, promised to provide computer services when none were provided and represented that computer repair services were needed when they knew that was false.
As part of their scheme, the three men and their co-conspirators accessed their victims’ computers and caused them to freeze or, in other instances, installed software on their victims’ computers and caused their victims’ email accounts to send emails that thanked the perpetrators for providing computer services.