A Worcester man who scammed families out of more than $880,000 made a run to the Candian border to avoid his jail sentence but was foiled by the Mounties.
Ashokkumar “Andy” Patel, formerly of Worcester and Plainville, was sentenced in September to 40 months in prison for his role in an international scheme that used high-pressure communications claiming to be from the IRS to squeeze people for money.
On Thursday, Oct. 15, Patel was apprehended by the Candian Royal Mounted Police who found him diving into a border ditch in a blueberry field near Washington State, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Patel was scheduled to begin his jail sentence in November. And he was supposed to make a court appearance on Wednesday, Oct. 21, to hear how much in restitution he would pay victims.
Patel has been transported back to the U .S. and is being charged with contempt of court.
Patel pleaded guilty in June 2019 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts said.
In the scam Patel was a part of, people were told that to avoid going to jail for back taxes they needed to send money by gift cards. The money from the cards was then transferred to prepaid debit cards.
Patel's role was to get the prepaid debit cards, use them to purchase money orders, and then deposit those money orders into various bank accounts, including one of his own, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Patel drew suspicion when federal agents noticed he had $150,000 in his bank account while working at a Subway in Worcester.
Patel was part of the conspiracy from December 2013 to October 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The loss amount to victims tied to Patel totaled $881,622.
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