WASHINGTON: The US will initiate actions against host of global companies and individuals, including those in India, involved in mass mailing fraud schemes that have collectively defrauded millions of elderly and vulnerable victims running into hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to the US Justice Department, fraudulent “direct mailers” create letters falsely claiming that the recipient has won, or will soon win, cash or valuable prizes, or otherwise will come into good fortune.
In order to collect these benefits, the letters say that the recipients need only send in a small amount of money for a processing fee or taxes.
The letters appear to come from legitimate sources, typically on official-looking letterhead, and even though they are in reality identical form letters the letters appear to be personally addressed.
Some solicitations even use fonts that appear to be handwritten, it said.
Among others, the complaint names Mail Order Solutions India Pvt Ltd. (MOSI), an India-based printer and distributor, and its principals, Dharti Desai, 49, of New York County and Mumbai, India, and Mehul Desai, also of Mumbai.
As alleged in the complaint, MOSI and its principals have served as one of BDK s printer/distributors since at least 2005.
MOSI designs, edits and proofreads BDK’s solicitations, then “lettershops” them (folds, inserts and seals the various printed elements of the solicitations into mailing envelopes).
MOSI prepares the letters for entry into the US mail either as air freight to JFK (or another international airport) for delivery to a domestic mailing house, or by shipping the letters to Singapore, Fiji or Hungary for introduction via the foreign post.
The complaint alleges that since 2013, MOSI has shipped at least 24.5 million solicitation packets to the US, the Department of Justice said.
The action initiated by the Department of Justice sought to shut down several actors who work with the mailers to carry out these schemes.
These included an India-based printer that manufactures the solicitations and arranges for bulk shipment to US victims; list brokers who buy, sell or rent lists of victims from one mailer to another so that once a victim has fallen prey to one scheme, others are able to target this victim; and a Canadian payment processor that, for more than 20 years, has helped dozens of international fraudsters gain access to US banks and take money from victims.–PTI