Despite constant warnings from the Montana Attorney General's Office, Montanans - particularly seniors - are still falling victim to various scams. The latest big-money scam report comes from Kalispell, where an elderly resident identified as Jane Doe lost $150,000 to an international group of scammers.

Credit Discover Kalispell YouTube video screenshot.
Credit Discover Kalispell YouTube video screenshot.
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An Indian national hacked the victim's computer.

According to an October 17th press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana, the 73-year-old woman got a pop-up message on her computer, telling her that her files had been compromised, with instructions to call a phone number for help. The woman did, and the fraudsters convinced the woman to remove $150,000 cash from her savings and give it to them so they could store the money with "the Fed" where it would be safe. The case then took an interesting turn.

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The scammers flew from India to Montana.

After the woman reported losing $150,000, FBI investigators helped the victim coordinate a trap to lure them in. She told the scammers she still had another $50,000 cash on hand. Sukhdev Vaid, 24, of India, and co-defendant Eddly Joseph, of Gainesville, Florida then came to Kalispell with hopes of robbing Jane Doe. Both men were arrested.

Vaid pleaded guilty to wire fraud and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced in February 2024. Joseph pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud and is pending sentencing. Court documents allege that a large enterprise originating from India was involved in stealing money from the elderly in the United States.

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