Upon arrival at Mumbai’s International Airport, Indian police arrested Sagar Thakkar, 24, also known as Shaggy, for being the mastermind behind a call center IRS scam that targeted thousands of Americans and netted more than $300 million.
In October 2016, the U.S. Justice Department charged more than 60 people in India with participating in the scam, where call center agents impersonated IRS employees or other federal officials and demanded payment for non-existent debt.
Call center operators would threaten their potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, deportation or hefty fines if they did not pay immediately. They also told people to make their payment by prepaid debit cards, or to wire transfer money to accounts that were stolen or fake identities. Authorities have identified at least 15,000 people in the U.S who were targeted.
Following the arrests in October, Thakkar fled to Dubai and also spent time in Thailand. During that time, it is alleged he led a lavish lifestyle, staying at five-star hotels and purchasing expensive cars.
The U.S. is working with India to have Thakkar extradited to the United States.