Irving, Texas, Business Owner Arrested on Federal Offense Related to IRS Impersonation/Money Soliciting Scam
Victims Called and Told to “Pay Money Immediately to IRS or be Arrested in Hours” Defendant Then Wired Collected Money to India
DALLAS — An Irving, Texas, businessman, Narasimha Bhogavalli, 50, was arrested yesterday morning by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on a federal complaint charging him with engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity in connection with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impersonation scam that defrauded victims of money that Bhogavalli then transferred between accounts and wired to India. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Bhogavalli made his initial appearance yesterday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney, who ordered him detained pending a detention hearing set for tomorrow, Friday, October 28, 2016, at 2:00 p.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renée Harris Toliver.
According to the complaint, victims from throughout the U.S. were contacted by individuals claiming to be IRS agents. Victims were advised there were outstanding warrants for their arrest and they would be sent to jail unless they deposited money orders, and sometimes cash, into bank accounts controlled by Bhogavalli and other accounts used by co-conspirators in the scam.
Bhogavalli used at least two Bank of America accounts in the scam, one in the name of Tekdynamics, Inc. and one in the name of Touchstone Commodities, Inc. The investigation revealed that Bhogavalli also controlled additional accounts used in the money soliciting scam, including a Citibank account held in the name of Touchstone Commodities.
Between November 5, 2014, and February 2, 2015, approximately 242 deposits of cash and money orders, totaling approximately $1,661,247, which includes at least 2,250 separate money orders totaling $1,493,848 were made in one of the Bank of America accounts. During the two-week period, between approximately January 16, 2015, and January 30, 2015, at least 60 money orders, totaling $37,957 were deposited into the other Bank of America account. Between November 4, 2014, and February 5, 2015, at least 128 money orders, totaling $96,716 were deposited into the Citibank account.
A financial analysis of those accounts, according to the complaint, shows that immediately following the deposits made by the victims of the money soliciting scam, the proceeds were wire transferred to other accounts Bhogavalli controlled, where he either spent the funds or wired the funds to accounts in other countries, such as India. Numerous wire transfers were made in amounts greater than $10,000.
Records indicate Bhogavalli was listed as the Director of Touchstone Commodities, located at 1425 Greenway Drive, Suite 650, in Irving. In account opening documents, Bhogavalli characterized Touchstone Commodities as an “import-export” business. On its website, Touchstone Commodities is “experienced in the global sourcing and supply of many valuable commodities,” including iron ore, steel and wood chips. Bhogavalli is listed as Chairman of Touchstone Commodities on its website.
Records indicate Bhogavalli was listed as President of Tekdynamics. According to information on the Tekdynamics website, Tekdynamics is a provider of “technology, outsourcing and consulting needs” with established infrastructure in the U.S. and India. Tekdynamics address is listed as 1425 Greenway Drive, Suite 650, in Irving.
A federal criminal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The U.S. Attorney’s office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment. The maximum statutory penalty for the charged offense is 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Nicholas Bunch is in charge of the prosecution.