A McLean man was sentenced Friday, June 3, to three years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud more than 1,300 victims out of $1.6 million in connection with a call center scam.
According to court documents, Bruhaspaty Prasad, 33, conspired with several other individuals primarily based in India at a call center to carry out a tech support scheme that primarily affected elderly victims. The defendant’s co-conspirators contacted the victims through unsolicited telephone calls and pop-up notifications on their computers claiming, in part, that the victims needed assistance to remove malware from their computers. In other instances, the call center employees pretended to be associated with companies like Amazon and Microsoft and falsely led the victims to believe that there were issues with their online accounts. The victims were duped into signing contracts for technical support services that were never rendered. Once the victims agreed to pay for services, they were frequently contacted again for additional services and charged additional fees.
Prasad, as the primary U.S.-based conspirator, was responsible for creating several businesses that purported to offer technical support to clients. During the life of the conspiracy, Prasad opened three businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, all of which received the fraudulently obtained proceeds of the scheme. Prasad was the sole signatory on the bank accounts for the entities he created. He was also responsible for transferring a significant portion of the fraud proceeds to his co-conspirators in India. Prasad continued operating these businesses and obtaining victims’ funds even after personally receiving several complaints and negative online reviews. Rather than closing the business entirely, Prasad continued to open businesses to allow the fraud scheme to proceed.
From April 2016 through September 2021, more than 1,300 individuals were defrauded. The victims suffered losses totaling more than $1.6 million.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
Amazon provided law enforcement with substantial assistance during the investigation, according to Eastern District of Virginia officials.