June 28, 2022
NEWARK, N.J. – Two Indian nationals admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud by accepting illegally obtained $1.2 million in wire transfers from victims across the country, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Arushobike Mitra, 27, and Garbita Mitra, 24, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging them each with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
As part of an international fraud scheme, criminal India-based call centers utilized automated robocalls to victims across the country with the intent of defrauding U.S. residents, particularly the elderly. After establishing contact with victims through these automated calls, other members of the conspiracy would coerce or trick the victims into sending large sums of cash through physical shipments or wire transfers to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras. These conspirators used a variety of schemes to convince victims to send money, including impersonating government officials from agencies such as the Social Security Administration, or impersonating law enforcement officers from the FBI or DEA, and threatened victims with severe legal or financial consequences if they did not comply. Another method utilized by the callers involved convincing the victim they were speaking with someone from a tech support company and coercing the victim into granting the caller remote access to their personal computers. The caller would then access the victim’s bank accounts and make it appear to the victim that the caller had inadvertently added money to the victim’s bank account, when in fact the caller had simply transferred money from another one of the victim’s own accounts. The caller would then instruct the victim to “return” the money by way of mail or wire transfer to other members of the conspiracy, including the Mitras. Arushobike Mitra and Garbita Mitra are charged with receiving fraudulent transfers of cash from 48 victims across the country totaling more than $1.2 million.
The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine of twice the amount of the loss, whichever is greater. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for Dec. 13, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, New York Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Sharon MacDermott; special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Cyber Intrusion Group, and El Dorado Task Force Asset Identification & Removal Group, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, Peter C. Fitzhugh in New York; postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark Division, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Damon Wood, Philadelphia Division, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas. He also thanked the Hoboken Police Department, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the New York City Police Department, and the Brunswick County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Meriah Russell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense counsel: William Strazza Esq., Chester, New Jersey, and Rubin Sinins Esq., Springfield, New Jersey