Pennsylvania man sentenced to jail for receiving more than $1 million in mail through government fraud scheme USAO-SDOH

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Bristol, Pennsylvania man was sentenced today by the US District Court to 36 months in prison on multiple counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to mail fraud. He was also fined more than $1.1 million in compensation.

Saarkumar Suresh Patel, 29, conspired with others to trick victims into sending large amounts of money by posing as government officials.

According to court documents, co-conspirators would call victims and identify themselves as law enforcement officers or attorneys working with the federal government. They threatened the victims, falsely telling them they had active warrants and that their bank accounts and social security numbers had been compromised.

Co-conspirators told the victims that in order not to lose money from their bank accounts, they had to withdraw large sums from their bank.

Victims were told to stuff the cash between the pages of several reading magazines and then place each magazine in a bubble-wrapped envelope before placing the wrapped magazines in a cardboard box. Victims sent packages to Walgreens and other postal depots to aliases used by Patel.

In June 2021, Dublin police officers intercepted a package sent to Patel in Walgreens on Hospital Drive containing $22,000 in cash in magazines. When officers searched Patel’s vehicle, they discovered another package of magazines containing $25,000 in cash, $30,000 in a white plastic bag wrapped in bubble wrap, a plastic bag from Donatos containing $31,500, and a bank bag from Southern First containing $22,500.

“I listened to three of the victims who attended today’s sentencing hearing,” said US Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “As each of them clarified, the accused’s illegal actions wiped out almost all of their life savings. The defendant’s actions caused so much pain and distress to many people. A prison sentence was definitely justified in this case. This office will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue and prosecute those who engage in these types of criminal activities.”

Patel was charged federally in June 2021 and pleaded guilty in November 2021.

Kenneth L. Parker, Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and Dublin Police Chief Justin Paez announced the verdict handed down today by Chief US District Judge Algenon L. Marbley. Assistant US Attorney Kenneth F. Affeldt is representing the United States in this case.

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