March 21, 2023



Former Financial institution Department Supervisor Sentenced To Jail For Tech Help Fraud Scheme That Exploited The Aged | USAO-SDNY

4 min read

Damian Williams, america Lawyer for the Southern District of New York, introduced that defendant ARIFUL HAQUE was sentenced to at least one yr and in the future in jail for taking part in a technical assist fraud scheme.  This conspiracy exploited victims, together with aged victims, by remotely accessing their computer systems and convincing victims to pay for laptop assist providers that they didn’t want, and which had been by no means truly supplied.  As a part of this scheme, HAQUE registered a purported technical assist firm, which defrauded greater than 100 victims positioned throughout america and Canada.  HAQUE beforehand pled responsible earlier than U.S. District Choose Paul A. Crotty, who imposed at this time’s sentence.

U.S. Lawyer Damian Williams mentioned:  “Ariful Haque participated in a conspiracy that triggered pop-up home windows to look on victims’ computer systems—pop-up home windows that claimed, falsely, {that a} virus had contaminated the sufferer’s laptop.  By means of this and different misrepresentations, this fraud scheme deceived scores of victims throughout the nation into paying a whole bunch or 1000’s of {dollars} to the perpetrators for laptop assist providers they didn’t want.  Due to our companions at Homeland Safety Investigations, this scheme has been dismantled and one other participant has been sentenced to jail.”

In accordance with the allegations contained within the Superseding Data, court docket filings, and statements made in court docket:

From roughly November 2017 by way of June 2019, HAQUE was a member of a legal fraud ring (the “Fraud Ring”) primarily based in america and India that dedicated a technical assist fraud scheme that exploited rating of victims positioned throughout america and Canada, together with within the Southern District of New York.  The Fraud Ring’s major goal was to trick victims into believing that their computer systems had been contaminated with malware, with a purpose to deceive them into paying a whole bunch or 1000’s of {dollars} for phony laptop restore providers. 

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The scheme usually labored as follows.  First, the Fraud Ring triggered pop-up home windows to look on victims’ computer systems.  The pop-up home windows claimed, falsely, {that a} virus had contaminated the sufferer’s laptop.  The pop-up window directed the sufferer to name a selected phone quantity to acquire technical assist.  In at the very least some situations, the pop-up window threatened victims that, in the event that they restarted or shut down their laptop, it might “trigger critical harm to the system,” together with “full knowledge loss.”  In an try to provide the false look of legitimacy, in some situations the pop-up window included, with out authorization, the company emblem of a widely known, respectable know-how firm.  Actually, no virus had contaminated victims’ computer systems, and the technical assist telephone numbers weren’t related to the respectable know-how firm.  Reasonably, these representations had been false and had been designed to trick victims into paying the Fraud Ring to “repair” an issue that didn’t exist.  And whereas the purported “virus” was a hoax, the pop-up window itself did trigger numerous victims’ computer systems to utterly “freeze,” thereby stopping these victims from accessing the information and recordsdata of their laptop—which triggered some victims to name the telephone quantity listed on the pop-up window.  In trade for victims’ fee of a number of hundred or thousand {dollars} (relying on the exact “service” victims bought), the purported technician remotely accessed the sufferer’s laptop and ran an anti-virus device, which is free and obtainable on the Web.  The Fraud Ring additionally re-victimized numerous victims, after they’d made funds to purportedly “repair” their tech issues.

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The Fraud Ring operated by way of at the very least 15 fraudulent entities.  In November 2017, HAQUE registered considered one of these fraudulent entities in New York State.  HAQUE’s entity defrauded greater than roughly 100 victims as a part of this scheme.  As a part of his involvement within the fraud, HAQUE opened U.S. financial institution accounts to obtain funds from victims, deposited sufferer checks, acquired a sufferer criticism, and repeatedly supplied a co-conspirator in India (“CC-1”) with authentication codes in order that CC-1 might wire funds out of those financial institution accounts.  HAQUE, a former financial institution department supervisor in New York Metropolis, additionally tried to make use of his banking expertise to additional the scheme, together with by advising CC-1 that it was “[n]ot a good suggestion to deposit” sure checks, a few of which might threat the involvement of “the Feds.”  Furthermore, occasionally, HAQUE additionally assisted one other co-conspirator (“CC-2”), who had registered a unique fraudulent entity that was a part of the Fraud Ring, as nicely.  In complete, as he admitted in his plea settlement, HAQUE is answerable for losses exceeding $600,000.

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Along with his jail time period, HAQUE, 36, of Queens, New York, was sentenced to 3 years of supervised launch, forfeiture of $38,886.32, and restitution of $470,672.16.

HAQUE’s co-defendant, Romana Leyva, was beforehand sentenced to 100 months in jail, three years of supervised launch, forfeiture of $4,679,586.93, and restitution of $2,707,882.91.

Mr. Williams praised the New York Workplace of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Safety Investigations (“HSI”)’s El Dorado Process Power, Cyber Intrusion/Cyber Fraud Group for its excellent work on the investigation.  Mr. Williams additionally thanked the New York Metropolis Police Division for its help on this case. 

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This matter is being dealt with by the Workplace’s Advanced Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Neff and Jilan J. Kamal are in command of the prosecution.


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