2 indicted for allegedly conning El Dorado County resident out of $600k
SACRAMENTO — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Thursday against Laxmikanth Biyani, 27, and Akshar Patel, 27, of New Jersey, charging them with alleged conspiracy to launder money and victimizing an El Dorado County resident out of more than $600,000.
According to court documents, from October to December 2020, an El Dorado County woman sent over $600,000 to a caller who pretended to be an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The caller reportedly directed her to transfer money to him for safekeeping during the investigation of a drug trafficking case that involved her social security number.
Investigators say some of the funds were transferred via Bitcoin and $270,000 was transferred through cash drops in the parking lot of an elementary school in El Dorado Hills. On four occasions in November and December 2020, Biyani allegedly picked up cash drops left by the victim and delivered or attempted to deliver the money to co-conspirators. On two of those occasions Patel reportedly assisted Biyani in the pickup and delivery of the cash drops.
Biyani and Patel were arrested by El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies Dec. 15, 2020, and remain in custody on $1 million bail.
The case is the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mira Chernick is prosecuting the case.
Anyone who thinks they may be a victim of this fraud scheme is asked to contact the United States Secret Service at SAC-FraudVictims@usss.dhs.gov.
If convicted, Biyani and Patel each face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
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