A Canadian citizen has been sentenced to a federal prison in Laredo, Texas after being convicted of conspiracy to commit telemarketing fraud.
Ragavan Thamby, 53, was sentenced to federal prison following his conviction of one count of conspiracy to commit a $3 million telemarketing fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced, along with Acting Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI. Thamby pleaded guilty to the offense on August 15, 2012.
U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen sentenced him to 192 months in federal prison in March, 2014. The FBI said in a press release at the hearing, additional testimony was presented to the judge from family members of victims including the effect the telemarketing scheme had on elderly people it was targeted at. Thamby was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,356,576 to the victims of the telemarking scheme. Judge Kazen noted, “The scheme was specifically to select older people because they were gullible and more vulnerable.” He further noted Thamby “did real damage.”
“This case demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those who are motivated by greed and who seek personal enrichment by defrauding investors,” Rouse said in a statement. “This behavior destroys the financial security of hard working individuals in our community.”
The plea agreement stated that in four years between 2003 and 2007, Thamby and his associates contacted many elderly Americans on the telephone. He told them that they or their deceased spouse had won a lottery or sweepstakes or that they had unclaimed funds. The organization’s telemarketers then attempted to befriend elderly victims through numerous calls and detailed stories. In order to pick up their winnings, the individuals were told they would have to send money to pay for fees, taxes and other costs. The FBI said those people targeted by the scheme would send cash or checks, varying from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. They never receiving their winnings.
This scheme was eventually uncovered when FBI agents identified one an elderly person in Zapata County, Texas who was asked to send money to a mailbox in Canada. The FBI and Canadian law enforcement then tracked the package and Canadian law enforcement saw Thamby pick it up in Toronto, Canada. When he was arrested, Canadian law enforcement seized from Thamby target lists with contact information for people who were targeted, “sucker lists,” checks mailed by targets of the scheme, and letters of complaint.
Investigators said the fraudulent scheme netted Thamby or his organization about $3 million from more than 600 victims.
Thamby is to remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case was investigated by a number of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada. White collar offenses of this kind which are investigated and prosecuted by the federal authorities, often lead to multi count indictments and carry high sentences. Clint Broden & Mick Mickelsen specialize in the aggressive representation of individuals and businesses charged with various types of fraud and white collar offenses in federal court.