Three Tampa men indicted over alleged IRS and payday loan scheme


Check out another potential scam call company from Florida: Three Tampa men have been indicted in an alleged scheme to defraud Americans by posing as loan officers and Internal Revenue Service representatives.

In a federal indictment filed on October 24, Hemalkumar Shah, Nishitkumar Patel and Sharvil Patel were charged with operating a call center in India that extorted money from its victims.

Under the scam described by the government: The callers phoned the Americans and claimed to be either the Internal Revenue Service calling about back taxes or a payday loan agent offering bogus payday loans for a small “Credit charge” to make sure the customer could afford to pay the loan.

The alleged scheme began around August 2014 and continued until June 2016. The callers used phone numbers that appeared to be from the United States, even though they were actually from India.

All three have been charged with wire fraud and extortion. Shah and Nishitkumar Patel were also charged with aggravated identity theft and illegal money transaction.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking the men to confiscate property worth up to $ 2.3 million, the amount they allegedly pocketed from the scheme.

As of mid-morning Wednesday, the lawyers listed for the accused men had not returned a request for comment.

Florida is no stranger to the fraudulent calling industry. This spring, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against a network of Boca Raton-based companies that it tried to charge small businesses to stay in Google’s index, on which companies from call had no control.

Related Coverage: Federal Trade Commission Sues Florida Companies for Auto Call Scams

The Sunshine State also ranked third most received and sent robocalls in March, according to the YouMail Robocall Index Snapshot.

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Contact Malena Carollo at or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.


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