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Call Center Worker Sentenced For Scamming Victims Of More Than $377,000

DENVER (CBS4) -- A 28-year-old Indian national was sentenced Friday in Denver federal court to five years imprisonment for his role in running numerous India-based call centers that scammed victims from across the globe.

U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez also ordered Safder Iqbal repay $377,889.35 to the "vulnerable elderly victims" he stole from, according to his plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

"Stealing from the elderly and vulnerable is a crime that can threaten the victim's ability to pay their most basic living expenses," said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. "Prison is an appropriate place for those like this defendant who come to this country for no other reason than to scam people."

File photo of a gavel in a courtroom. (Credit: Thinkstock)

Per court documents, Iqbal moved to Colorado Springs in April 2018 through the J-1 visa program. While in India, Iqbal held several call center positions, including one as an agent. In that role, he defrauded victims in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Iqbal also operated his own call center and worked as a broker to connecting other call centers to previous victims.

Once in Colorado, he set up several more scam operations, the primary being a computer tech support scam. Agents calling from the India-based centers remotely gained access to victims' computers by fraudulently offering refunds for tech support or answering inquiries prompted by "pop-up" warnings that falsely claimed the computer was suffering a malfunction. The agents used their software to create problems when, in fact, none existed prior to their access, and then asked for payment for tech support solutions. In other cases, the agents collected private information such as bank accounts through their access and manipulated statements and deposits.

One out-of-state victim was tricked into providing approximately $20,000 through the refund scam. Another who fell victim to both the refund and tech support scam, was defrauded of $50,000.

Generic Phone landline
(credit: CBS)

"The FBI is committed to proactively and thoroughly investigating criminal activities that harm our elderly community members," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. "Thanks to the diligence and perseverance of our investigators, law enforcement partners, and U.S. Attorney's Office, Safder Iqbal will no longer victimize senior citizens with his fraud scheme."

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with substantial assistance from the Thornton Police Department's Economic Crimes Unit.

Co-defendant Danish Rashid, who pleaded guilty in August 2019 to participating in the scheme, is due to be sentenced on February 5, 2020.



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