"In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement," the release stated. "An additional US-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
According to the Justice Department, the conspirators targeted immigrants or elderly people, impersonated US Internal Revenue Service or immigration agents, and threatened victims with criminal charges or deportation if they did not pay thousands of dollars in alleged overdue taxes or fines.
Roth said the scam’s perpetrators were able to trick US citizens in to believing they would be deported if they did not comply with the financial demands.
The criminal ring used an informal financial transfer system known as "hawala" to transfer the extorted funds to US-based individuals who were not aware the money was stolen, the Justice Department said.