Indian man from Houston faces 20 years for telemarketing scam


An Indian-origin man in the US has been caught by the police for running telemarketing scam and extort money from innocent victims.

Waseem Maknojiya, 37, who was illegally residing in Houston, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, through Indian call centers in the US between April and October 2019, a statement from the department of justice said.

Maknojiya was the primary suspect in running the scam. He was however conducting the scam using aliases and fake identification documents to pick up more than 70 parcels containing cash, the victims had sent.

He is currently facing up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

He posed as a representative of federal agents and threatened the victims that they were being investigated to convince them to make their payment.

According to the statement, One common script used in the scheme involved coercing victims into believing federal agents were investigating them. The “agent” on the phone would convince the victim the only way to clear his or her name from investigation was to send cash in a parcel shipped through FedEx to a name and address they provided. Runners in the United States like Maknojiya would then pick up the parcels.

As part of his plea agreement, Maknojiya will pay restitution to the scheme’s identified victims.

U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes accepted the plea and set sentencing for Dec. 13. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.

The case was investigated jointly by the FBI, social security administration and department of homeland security with the assistance of the Houston Police department and the treasury inspector general for tax administration.