Third Berkshire Man Arrested in Fraud Investigation
Albany, N.Y. County Sheriff’s Office arrested a third individual as part of an investigation into a national organized fraud scheme taking place in Northern Berkshire County.
Law enforcement arrested Parth “Peter” Chaudhari, 23, of Adams Wednesday afternoon without incident. Albany officials are holding Chaudhari without the right to bail on a charge of Fugitive from Justice, based on a warrant issued in Massachusetts for charges associated with a fraud investigation.
The State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and the Adams Police Department filed for an arrest warrant for Chaudhari on Wednesday.
Law enforcement will transport him to Massachusetts for arraignment in Northern Berkshire District Court on charges of larceny by false pretenses over $1,200, larceny from a person over the age of 65, and conspiracy following rendition proceedings.
I thank all of the law enforcement in multiple states for their great, collaborative effort in investigating this complex case. This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to contact their local police agency...Nationally in 2019, people reported losing $1.9 million through various scams. Residents should be aware of the signs of a scam and protect themselves from becoming a victim.
District Attorney Andrea Harrington
The arrest is the third as a result of a three-month-long, multi-agency investigation spanning numerous states into an organized fraud scheme.
Law enforcement previously arrested Ajaykumar Chaudhari, 24, of Pownal, Vt. and Jitendra Chaudhari, 27, of Williamstown.
They are facing charges of larceny by false pretenses over $1,200, larceny from a person over the age of 65, and conspiracy. Each of the charges carries state prison sentences of up to five years. The court ordered that they are held on $100,000 bail and surrender their passports.
Law enforcement believes the Chaudharis were involved in a multi-state scheme intended to defraud individuals through phone scams.
In March, police in other jurisdictions alerted Adams Police that individuals in their communities reported sending thousands of dollars in cash to addresses in Adams under potentially fraudulent terms.
The Berkshire State Police Detective Unit and the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, Adams Police and partner police organizations in Lanesborough, North Adams, Pittsfield, Williamstown, Hoosick Falls, N.Y. and the Berkshire Sheriff’s Office launched a multi-agency, multi-state investigation that spanned three months.
Local law enforcement executed search warrants on businesses and a residence on Monday and seized approximately $50,000.
Investigators accounted for approximately $300,000 allegedly sent because of potential fraud. Law enforcement seized and returned much of the money to victims or held as evidence pending the ongoing prosecution.
Law enforcement is still actively investigating the method and manner used to illegally solicit and defraud the individuals.
The investigation is ongoing and there may be additional arrests. If you or anyone you know could have potentially been scammed, contact your local police department.