Indian national admits to defrauding telephone providers, insurance firms of millions of dollars in US


An Indian national has admitted that he defrauded various telephone providers and insurance companies out of millions of dollars by using stolen or fake identities to submit fraudulent claims for replacement cellular devices and then reselling those devices outside the US.

Parag Bhavsar, 42, of Newark, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transfer of stolen property.

His sentencing is scheduled for January 3, 2024, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on Wednesday.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, from June 2013 through June 2019, Bhavsar was involved in a widespread scheme to defraud cellular telephone providers and insurance companies using the US Postal Service mail system, as well as other third-party mail carriers.

He and his conspirators used stolen and fake identities to submit false claims of lost, stolen or damaged cellular telephones, as well as other devices, in order to obtain replacement devices.

Bhavsar and his conspirators maintained a network of mailboxes and storage units across the US, including in New Jersey, where the replacement devices would be shipped and then held before being sold to third parties outside the country.

Bhavsar and his conspirators’ scheme resulted in millions of dollars of losses to the cellular telephone providers and insurance companies.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offence, whichever is greatest.

As part of the plea agreement, Bhavsar will consent to the entry of a forfeiture money judgement of $10.67 million.

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