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HOUSTON (AP) – Four men have pleaded guilty to participating in a fraud and money laundering scheme that used a network of call centers in India.

Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez in Houston says individuals at call centers in Ahmedabad, India, impersonated Internal Revenue Service and immigration authorities and threatened victims around the U.S. to use gift cards or wire money to make payments they contended were owed to the government.

U.S.-based “runners” then would liquidate or launder the fraudulent proceeds.

Three men – 26-year-old Nisarg Patel, of Flemington, New Jersey; 30-year-old Dilipkumar Patel, of Ocala, Florida; and Rajesh Kumar, 39, of Mesa, Arizona – pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Houston. Another man, 38-year-old Dipakkumar Patel, of Pennsylvania, pleaded before a federal judge in Georgia. All are in custody awaiting sentencing.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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