PLAINVILLE — A former local man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for participating in a fraud scheme in which scam artists posing as IRS officials bilked elderly victims out of more than $880,000 by telling them they owed back taxes.
Ashokkumar Patel, also known as Andy Patel, 30, formerly of 15 Washington St., Plainville, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boston to 40 months in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston.
Patel, who now lives in Hoffman Estates, Ill., was also given one year probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the victims, the amount to be determined at a later date.
Prosecutors say the loss to the victims linked to Patel totaled $881,622.
He pleaded guilty in June 2019 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. He was arrested in June 2017 and had been free on pretrial conditions.
From December 2013 to October 2014, Patel was part of a conspiracy targeting elderly victims who thought they were speaking to IRS lawyers. The callers, who were primarily from India, threatened the victims with arrest if they did not purchase prepaid store cards and provide the serial numbers to the callers.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, after the victims complied the money was quickly transferred to prepaid debit cards, such as Green Dot ones, which were then used to purchase money orders.
Patel was responsible for purchasing the debit cards, using them to buy money orders and then depositing them into various bank accounts, including his own.
Patel lived at 15 Washington St. in August 2015 and also had an address in Worcester. He also used a Subway shop in Chicago as an address, according to court records.
Authorities say he deposited money into his bank account from sources other than his income from working at Subway, Uber and Lyft.
The victims included a 65-year-old retired physician in Shrewsbury who lost more than $85,000 in the scam, and a 65-year-old Worcester woman who was scammed out of $44,190. They were not identified in court records.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI.