Anuj Patel Indicted for International Conspiracy to Defraud Elderly
October 22, 2020 - Lake Elsinore, Riverside County Indian Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel (30) was indicted today along with two others by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in international conspiracy to defraud elderly by posing as federal agents threatening arrest.
The other two Lake Elsinore residents charged along with Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel are Elmer Miranda Barrios (35) and his cousin William Margarito Barrios (36).
ChargesThe charges against Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel a.k.a. “Mike” and “Indio” as per federal grand jury indictment unsealed today include:
- Conspiracy to commit mail fraud
- Wire fraud
...from April 2019 until March 2020, other members of the conspiracy, some of whom are believed to be in India, telephoned victims and pretended to be government employees or law enforcement officers. Using a number of false pretenses – including phony badge numbers and using spoofed government telephone numbers – the co-conspirators convinced the victims, most of whom were over the age of 55, that their identities or assets were in trouble.While Elmer Miranda Barrios and William Margarito Barrios were arrested and presented today in United States District Court in Riverside, Anuj Patel's arraingment is expected in the coming weeks.
For example, some victims were told that their Social Security numbers had been linked to crimes and that there were warrants issued by courts authorizing the victims’ arrests. The co-conspirators further told the victims that in order to clear the warrants, they should withdraw their savings and send cash by mail to other members of the scheme.
The victims were ordered to send the parcels through shipping companies that allowed parcel recipients to pick up parcel so long as the recipients had identification matching the names listed on the parcel as the addressees. The addresses the defendants gave primarily were at locations in Riverside County, but also in Los Angeles and San Diego counties.
Patel allegedly used tracking numbers to monitor the victims’ parcels, and communicated with couriers – Elmer and William Barrios – who used fraudulent identification documents matching the names listed on the parcels as addresses.
For example, in February 2020, Patel allegedly received a UPS parcel containing $10,000 from an 82-year-old victim that was addressed to “Victor Efrain DePaz” in Hemet.
The total loss alleged in this case is approximately $541,420 and the defendants allegedly conspired to receive more than 50 parcels sent by the scheme’s victims.
Potential PenaltyIf convicted, Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
California Indian Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law as the indictment against him contains allegations of committing a crime.