A New Jersey man was arrested last Thursday in connection with a technical support scam that targeted more than 7,000 victims in the United States, consisting mainly of small business owners and the elderly, defrauding those victims of more than $13 million.
Manoj Yadav, 40, of Clifton, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte in Newark federal court.
“We allege Yadav lied to software users and forced them to pay for services that would usually come free with their initial purchase,” FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “The amount he’s accused of stealing from his victims and the number of victims seem shocking; however, we are seeing an incredible increase in all types of tech support scams. The fraudsters are pretty savvy in how they con money out of people, even those of us who think we’re smart enough to not fall for it. If you think you’re a victim, please reach out to the FBI.”
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According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2017 through 2023, Yadav and his conspirators, many of whom were in India, fraudulently held themselves out as a technology support company affiliated with a major U.S. business and accounting software company that developed and sold a widely used accounting software product.
They operated under multiple fraudulent business names, including “Phebs Software Services, LLC,” “Phebs Software Services,” “PN Bookkeeping Services,” “Phebbs Consulting,” “Quickbooks Tech Assist,” “Quickbook US,” “Quickbooks Accounting,” and “Quickbooks Support Team.”
The conspirators would contact victims under the guise of fixing victims’ technical issues with the accounting software. After receiving tech support from the conspirators under these fraudulent pretenses, the victims would either be charged exorbitant fees or additional subscription fees.
These “services” were all fraudulent: They would not cost any additional money for customers who contacted the actual software company, and the software company never authorized Yadav or his conspirators to act on its behalf or charge any fees.
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Yadav personally participated in the scheme by charging the victims for the fraudulent technology support services and funneling millions of dollars from these victims to his conspirators. Yadav fraudulently obtained these funds through the Phebs Software Services, LLC, which Yadav himself formed.
That entity did business as both “Phebs Software Services” and “Quickbooks Accounting.” Yadav also used these entity names to falsely hold himself out to banks and victim customers as an accounting company legitimately affiliated with the software company.
He did this to prevent charge backs, Better Business Bureau complaints, and the closure of bank accounts. Yadav sent his conspirators over $13 million in funds obtained from victims and would routinely keep approximately 17 percent when he wired funds to the conspirators.
The count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
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