TRACY -- A Tracy man faces two decades in prison and $250,000 in fines if he is found guilty of coercing millions of dollars from victims of a fake debt collection company.
Kirit Patel, 68, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Sacramento on Friday for allegedly creating a false debt collection company to fleece victims. He faces 21 counts of wire fraud and mail fraud.
According to court documents, Patel is accused of being a part of a scheme in which a ring of false debt collectors not only coerced but harrased unsuspecting victims into paying online loans that didn't exist.
The scheme involved more than 2.7 million calls to at least 600,000 different phone numbers nationwide, according to the Federal Trade Commission, that investigated the case.
The company, called "Broadway Global Master," allegedly had schemers from call centers in India impersonate law enforcement officers who falsely threatened victims with arrest warrants if they did not pay their debts.
According to court documents, victims told the FTC they would often receive calls from law enforcement agents such as "Officer Mike Johnson" or representatives of fake government agencies like the "Federal Crime Unit of the Department of Justice."
One consumer reported that the caller threatened to have her children taken away if she didn't pay, according to court documents.
It is believed by FTC investigators that Patel opened the front company to process
Fraudulent transactions totaled more than $5 million, which was collected in less than two years.
If found guilty, Patel faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison or a $250,000 fine, or both for any individual count of wire fraud or mail fraud.
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.