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Anuj Patel Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison for Bagman Role in Scheme to Defraud Elderly


March 2, 2022 - Lake Elsinore, Riverside County Indian Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel (32) was isentenced today to 108 months in federal prison for participating in an international fraud scheme to defraud elderly by posing as federal agents threatening arrest.

Charges
The charges against Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel a.k.a. “Mike” and “Indio” as per federal grand jury indictment of October 22, 2020 include:
According to court documents:
...from April 2019 until March 2020, other members of the conspiracy, some of whom are believed to be in India, telephoned victims and pretended to be government employees or law enforcement officers. Using a number of false pretenses – including phony badge numbers and using spoofed government telephone numbers – the co-conspirators convinced the victims, most of whom were over the age of 55, that their identities or assets were in trouble.

For example, some victims were told that their Social Security numbers had been linked to crimes and that there were warrants issued by courts authorizing the victims’ arrests. The co-conspirators further told the victims that in order to clear the warrants, they should withdraw their savings and send cash by mail to other members of the scheme.

The victims were ordered to send the parcels through shipping companies that allowed parcel recipients to pick up parcel so long as the recipients had identification matching the names listed on the parcel as the addressees. The addresses the defendants gave primarily were at locations in Riverside County, but also in Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Patel allegedly used tracking numbers to monitor the victims’ parcels, and communicated with couriers – Elmer and William Barrios – who used fraudulent identification documents matching the names listed on the parcels as addresses.

For example, in February 2020, Patel allegedly received a UPS parcel containing $10,000 from an 82-year-old victim that was addressed to “Victor Efrain DePaz” in Hemet.

The total loss alleged in this case is approximately $541,420 and the defendants allegedly conspired to receive more than 50 parcels sent by the scheme’s victims.
Prior Gulity Plea
Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel pleaded guilty on March 30, 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

The other two Lake Elsinore residents charged along with Anuj Mahendrabhai Patel are Elmer Miranda Barrios (37) and his cousin William Margarito Barrios (38).

Elmer Miranda Barrios, who pled guilty in January 2021 was sentenced to a time-served sentence of five months in federal prison and released to immigration authorities for deportation.

And, Elmer Barrios pleaded guilty in December 2021 to a conspiracy count, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 23, 2022.