United States Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. announced today that Mohammad Alam, age 50, of New York, pled guilty to a Bill of Information charging him with misprision of a felony before U.S. District Court Judge John W. deGravelles.
According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, in December of 2016, Alam became involved in a computer technical support fraud scheme that targeted elderly victims throughout the United States including the Middle District of Louisiana. The scheme involved international participants, targeted over 30 victims, and took in approximately $340,000 in fraudulent proceeds.
Members of the scheme tricked victims into thinking their computers needed technical support, then offered to fix their computers for a fee. After the victims paid, a member of scheme would contact the victims seeking access to their bank accounts, claiming that the victims were entitled to a discount. With that information, a member of the scheme would manipulate the victims’ account balances to where the victims thought that they owed money to the computer company. The victims would then send money to accounts controlled by Alam and others.
Between December of 2016 and March of 2018, Alam utilized multiple bank accounts to receive the victims’ funds. He operated these accounts at the direction of an overseas associate, who instructed him how to distribute the funds, which he then sent to foreign and domestic accounts as directed.
Individuals like Alam assist fraudsters by receiving money from victims of fraud and forwarding it to the fraud organizers, many of whom are located abroad. Some of these so-called money mules know they are assisting fraudsters, but others are unaware of the illegal scheme. Without money mules, many foreign fraudsters find it difficult to profit off U.S. victims. To find public education materials, as well as information about how fraudsters use and recruit money mules, please visit www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch/money-mule-initiative.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M.P. Thornhill, who also serves as the Elder Justice Coordinator for the Middle District of Louisiana.
The Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative aims to combat elder financial exploitation by expanding efforts to investigate and prosecute financial scams that target seniors; educate older adults on how to identify scams and avoid becoming victims of financial fraud; and promote greater coordination with law enforcement partners. For more information, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).