Suburban man pleads guilty in phone scam case

MIDLOTHIAN — Federal authorities say a suburban Chicago man has pleaded guilty to participating in a scam involving Indian call centers.

Bharat Patel is an Indian national who pleaded guilty in Texas this week to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He admitted his role in liquidating and laundering victim payments drummed up through telephone fraud. Dozens of people were charged in the scheme in 2016.

The 43-year-old lived in Midlothian, Illinois. A listed number couldn’t be located Friday.

He’s agreed to deportation. His sentencing is in July.

Authorities say Patel and co-conspirators ran a complex scheme where individuals impersonated tax or immigration officials and threatened U.S. victims with arrest, fines or deportations if they didn’t pay up alleged fees to the government.

The scams began in 2013 with some operations in Chicago.

–Associated Press

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