IRS-caller fraud gang member held in Mumbai


A man who was allegedly part of a gang that cheated United States and Canadian citizens of millions of dollars by posing as IRS (tax) or immigration officials has been arrested in Mumbai.

Nishikant S Shirsikar, 30, was arrested from the western suburb of Malad August 29 by a team of the Mumbai police’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU).

They seized Rs 500,000 ($6,831.06) in cash, gold biscuits worth Rs 1 million ($13,662.1) and some marjiuana from him.

During his custodial interrogation, Shirsikar allegedly revealed that an international racket operated from different Indian cities through certain call centers and from the homes of the operatives.

They had targeted and scared hundreds of citizens in the USA and Canada, impersonating Internal Revenue Service or US Citizen and Immigration Service officials, using information from data brokers and other sources.

“Posing as officials, these racketeers targeted people in US and Canada and threatened them with arrest, imprisonment, penalties or deportation if they did not pay the alleged money owed to the government,” said a CIU officer.

Those who fell for the ruse and agreed to pay up were instructed how to make the payments, including by purchasing stored value cards or wire transfers.

Based on information obtained in Shirsikar’s second round of interrogation, the CIU seized Rs 3.5 million ($47,817.39) and 200gm of gold biscuits from his bank lockers, besides a two-wheeler which is suspected to be stolen.

Further investigations are underway, said the official.