Man Behind Fake-Cop Debt Collection Scam Could Get To Know Some Very Real Convicts

We write a lot about multimillion dollar settlements over alleged frauds and scams, but it often seems like there is an inverse relationship between the amount of money involved and the amount of time spent in jail by the perpetrators. So we’re glad to hear that the man in the center of a debt collection scam that involved callers pretending to be police officers, and which defrauded American consumers out of millions, now faces criminal charges.

We’ve been covering this story since April, when the Federal Trade Commission shut down the debt collectors, alleging they were pretending to be police officers to harass consumers into paying debts that they either didn’t owe to the collection agency or didn’t owe at all.

The scam, which collected at least $5.2 million from consumers, involved more than 2.7 million calls to at least 600,000 phone numbers in just over a year.

In June, reporters tracked down the man believed be the man behind the U.S. side of the scam. His lawyer claimed the man simply set up some shell corporations and had no idea about the fraud being committed.

But a federal grandy jury has now charged him with 21 criminal counts of wire fraud and mail fraud. According to the FTC, the grand jury was shown evidence of e-mails and wire transfers that show the defendant’s connection to the scam.

Earlier this summer, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said that if this man “was just a cog in the wheel he seems to have been a pretty big cog… It is clear that [he] was integrally involved with this scam.”

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  1. Bsamm09 says:

    Looks like almost any sentence he gets is a life sentence. If he does get a lot of time, I hope they don’t reduce it due to his age.

  2. Darth Maubs says:

    Got a call from similar scammers last week. They left a message indicating they’d be serving papers to my address, and provided an 800 number to call. That number is associated with extortion scams for false debt, just like this guy’s operation. Maybe they’ve changed up their tactics a bit.

    • newfenoix says:

      Since I am a cop I would say PLEASE call me with this crap!

      • Not Given says:

        What could you do? They are overseas and use spoofed Caller ID. Busting this one guy doesn’t seem to have slowed them down at all.

        • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

          Serving papers at an address would mean (to me, anyways) that someone would be coming by with papers to give to me. I’d be asking what date and time, just to make sure I could be home when they arrived.

          And I’d clue in my township police force…and my local magistrate.

          Hilarity would ensue!

          • SnoopyFish says:

            I am sure their whole goal is to scare you in paying so you don’t get served. I doubt anyone would come to your door.

  3. areaman says:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/phantom-debt-collectors-india-harass-americans-demand-money/story?id=16512428#.UDvH-9XzSZQ

    “ABC News tracked Patel for weeks, from the suburbs of San Francisco to Austin, Texas.

    Patel refused to talk. But his lawyer, Mark Ellis, said he believes it is far too early to pass judgment on his client. Ellis, a Sacramento-based attorney, told ABC News that Patel was hired for a nominal fee to set up an American shell company, and had no idea what the call centers in India were doing.”

    Mr. Patel didn’t do his due diligence. Sounds like the actions of someone who knows he’s setting up shell companies for Indian scammers.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Of course he knew what he was doing; he was probably collecting a percentage. The government should look closely into his financial records.

  4. PragmaticGuy says:

    I guess there will be some guy calling him in the pokey to pay the bills he left when he was incarcerated. I notice that his attorney doesn’t seem to be worried about getting his fee either so Mr. Patel must have a pretty good source of income.

  5. Velvet Jones says:

    The US needs to institute severe punishment for these types of crimes. Fines and imprisonment apparently do not work. I say bring back the whipping post. A public caning broadcast live on the web and national TV should strike some fear in to them. First time they see one of their scammer buddies getting a beating and crying like a baby I’m sure it will make them think twice.

  6. oldwiz65 says:

    ignorance is no excuse. Hang him.

  7. Telekinesis123 says:

    ” …but it often seems like there is an inverse relationship between the amount of money involved and the amount of time spent in jail by the perpetrators.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself about financial/white collar crime.