HOUSTON, TX — A 37-year-old Indian citizen who was illegally residing in Houston has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Between April and October 2019, Waseem Maknojiya was involved in a telemarketing scheme via Indian call centers to extort money from victims in the United States. Maknojiya acted as a runner in these schemes, using aliases and fake identification documents to pick up more than 70 parcels containing cash the scheme’s victims had mailed.

One common script used in the scheme involved coercing victims into believing federal agents were investigating them. The “agent” on the phone would convince the victim the only way to clear his or her name from investigation was to send cash in a parcel shipped through FedEx to a name and address they provided. Runners in the United States like Maknojiya would then pick up the parcels.

As part of his plea…

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