POWNAL — The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office in Pittsfield, Mass., obtained guilty local convictions in a nationwide fraud scheme and will return money back to the victims, according to a statement from the DA’s office.
Ajaykumar Chaudhari, 26, of Pownal and Jitendra Chaudhari, 29, of Williamstown, Mass., pleaded guilty on Monday in Berkshire Superior Court to single counts of larceny over $1,200 and attempt to commit a crime of larceny over $1,200. In December, a third defendant, Parth Chaudhari, pleaded guilty to the same charges. Combined, the three defendants will pay $212,924 in restitution.
“The victims in this case overwhelmingly supported a resolution that would return the most money in the most timely manner, while sparing them, many of whom are aging and live out of state, from having to travel to Massachusetts to testify,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said.
The court required that the defendants provide restitution payments before accepting the plea, ensuring that victims get their money back quickly. Victims also got a more significant amount than they would through a jury trial and restitution hearing.
The three operated a multistate scheme intended to defraud people through phone scams. Police in other jurisdictions in the country alerted Adams Police in March 2020 that victims were sending packages of money to addresses in Adams.
Adams Police and a State Police detective unit assigned to the District Attorney’s Office conducted a three-month investigation. Police in Lanesborough, Mass.; North Adams, Mass.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Williamstown; Hoosick Falls, N.Y.; and the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office assisted.
During that investigation, victims and law enforcement intercepted and returned packages victims sent, totaling $106,000. In June, local law enforcement executed 27 search warrants, identifying a business in Adams as serving as the headquarters.
The court “filed” the guilty convictions of Ajaykumar Chaudhari and Jitendra Chaudhari for two years and sentenced Parth Chaudhari to time served, which was about eight months.
A filed case means the defendants are guilty and will have a guilty conviction on their record, but that the court isn’t necessarily applying a sentence yet. If the defendants commit another crime, the court can opt to impose a jail time, according to the DA’s office.