IRS scam: ‘Staff was told 2002 hurricane in US swept away tax-related documents’

Family members blame employers but police say those working there were aware that operation was a scam.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Updated: October 11, 2016 12:49 am
 call centre, call centre scam, mumbai call centre scam, maharashtra call centre, extortion case, us call centre, IRS scam, thane police, mira road call centre, bogus call centre, call centre investigation, indian express news, mumbai news One of the call centres raided by the police last week. Express photo

EMPLOYEES at the call centres raided by the Thane police last week were told that a hurricane that hit the US in 2002 had “swept away” tax-related documents of several thousand Americans, and that they were being employed to call US tax defaulters and settle disputes over the phone. Several employees at the Mira Road-based bogus call centres claimed to have been told by their employers, upon raising doubts on why they were calling US citizens and impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officers, that the work was outsourced to them.

The Thane police investigators, however, said the employees were well aware that the operation was a scam.

Prakash Modi, whose wife is one of the 70 people arrested by Thane police from 12 call centres across Mira Road, said, “My family was facing financial crisis and I had also taken some loans. While she was already working at one place earning Rs 15,000, one of her friends told her that she could earn a much better salary at a Mira Road call centre. Hence, she went ahead with the job,” said Modi.

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He added, “After she joined work, they were told they were to settle tax defaults on part of the American citizens on behalf of the IRS. They were told that there had been a hurricane in the US in 2002 that led to several tax documents of thousands of people being destroyed. Hence, the citizens had to be called manually.”

When someone raised a doubt about why the IRS gave the responsibility to India, one of the superiors would say it was because US call centres were charging them much more for the job, said a relative of another accused who refused to be named.

Modi said he wasn’t suspicious during the months that his wife was working there. Looking back now, however, he admits there were signs that should have alerted them. “After my wife joined them, she was in a junior position. Within 15 days, the employer told her that she was working well and they were promoting her to a senior designation. Within a month again, she was promoted to a senior managerial position. In which company do people get promotions within a month? We should have realised something was amiss,” he added.

A majority of those arrested claimed to have been employed with the company for small periods ranging from three months to a few days. One of the accused who did not wish to be named said she had been working for a month and had realised that there was something amiss. “I joined on September 5 and planned to wait till October 5 to collect my salary and quit. However, the raids happened on October 4,” she said.

The family members of one accused had come to the court with his exam hall ticket. “He has his final year BSc exams from October 17. We don’t want this case to ruin his future. We have come to request the judge to grant him bail,” said a relative.

Two of the arrested accused are minors and have been sent to a children’s home.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Mukund Hatote, the investigating officer, was, however, skeptical about these claims. “The very first day when the employees join work, they have to say that they are calling from the IRS headquarters in the US. Any person in their right mind would understand on the first day itself that this was a fraudulent activity,” he said. The police have till now raided 12 call centres in the Mira Road area and arrested 70 employees who would call up US citizens claiming to be from the IRS and demand money to settle tax disputes or face arrest.

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  1. G
    Oct 11, 2016 at 2:09 am
    Disgusting pigs,these pigs make embarrment to w Indian society.
    1. M
      Oct 11, 2016 at 2:07 am
      I dont trust these feminist funded media. These medias are publishing millions of fake rape story for interest to degrade the value of men, which is the agenda of feminist. All media who reported fake rape story without verifying story, should be punished to give justice to victim men. This rape story could be a false or true and we do not know. Feminist media reported as true like millions of other rape-reports which latter proved a false rape torture on men by women, new-laws, police, court and feminist media. False rape allegation is a rape on men. Change the definition of rape to include men rape victims and give punishment to rapist women, court, police and media who raped the victim men.
      1. R
        ramakrishnan s
        Oct 11, 2016 at 3:38 am
        Even after 60 years of law making we hear about illegal buildings,illegal pharma companies and now illegalBPO companies.When the Satyam scam broke out govt should have handed over the case to US agencies instead of giving a long rope to the accused.And Nascom instead of a mere data collecting agency should have been entrusted with monitoring system like SEBI.Also when in India as every one knows it is difficult to set up a PAAN /Cigarettes co.with one govt. has allowed such cos.Now atleast govt. should wake up and set up proper regulatory framework for ALL companies in India.
        1. S
          Oct 10, 2016 at 11:18 pm
          I got call so many time. Every time on questioning they hang up phone. Most people know that IRS doesn't call anyone except visitation in person.
          1. T
            Oct 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm
            really man the only person in this case u found was the person with the surname Modi....realllllyyyyy
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