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US: Indian pleads guilty to duping phone providers, insurance companies by using fake identities

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offence.
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 05:48 IST
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 05:48 IST

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Washington: An Indian national on Wednesday pleaded guilty in a New Jersey court to charges of defrauding various phone providers and insurance companies of millions of dollars by using fake identities.

He submitted fraudulent claims for replacement of cellular devices and then reselling those devices outside the US, a media release on the case said.

Sandeep Bengera, 36, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court to a two-count indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transfer of stolen property, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said.

He admitted that the total value of the replacement devices was more than $9 million, it said.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offence.

The charge of conspiracy to commit interstate transfer of stolen goods carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offence.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 10, 2024, the release said.

According to court documents from June 2013 through June 2019, Bengera was involved in a widespread scheme to defraud cellular phone providers and insurance companies using the US mail system and other third-party mail carriers.

With other conspirators, he used stolen and fake identities to submit false claims of lost, stolen or damaged cellular phones and other devices to obtain replacement devices, the release said.

Bengera and his conspirators maintained a network of mailboxes and storage units across the United States, including in New Jersey, where the replacement devices would be shipped and then held before being sold to third parties outside the US, it said.

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Published 06 June 2024, 05:48 IST

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