70 call centre employees held for fraud
Americans were swindled of tens of millions of dollars in an alleged tax scam that was run for about a year from call centres on the outskirts of Mumbai, a senior investigator said today, anticipating more arrests on top of the 70 made so far.
Assistant Police Commissioner Bharat Shelke said the alleged scamsters posed as US Internal Revenue Service officials and left victims voicemails, accusing them of tax evasion and threatening them with arrest. “Fearing arrest, some would call back. Employees at the call centre would then demand a few thousand dollars to settle the case,” he said. The 70 persons arrested were among 700 detained when the police raided makeshift call centres in Mumbai’s Thane suburb. An estimated $36.5 million was extorted from US residents.
A court today allowed police custody of all 70 suspects until October 10. The detainees were driven to court in large vans. Defence lawyers insisted their clients were following orders and that the masterminds were still at large.