Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
The U.S. Justice Department charged 61 people and entities on Thursday with taking part in a scam involving India-based call centers where agents impersonated Internal Revenue Service, immigration and other federal officials and demanded payments for non-existent debts. The defendants, who were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Oct. 19, included 32 people and five call centers in India and 24 people in nine U.S. states, the statement said. The indictment said the operators of the call centers in Ahmedabad, in the Indian state of Gujarat, "threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government." Payments by victims were laundered by a U.S. network of co-conspirators using prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, often using stolen or fake identities, the statement said.
By Babak Dehghanpisheh and Stephen Kalin SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - The Iraqi army was trying on Thursday to reach a town south of Mosul where Islamic State has reportedly executed dozens to deter the population against any attempt to support the U.S.-led offensive on the jihadists' last major city stronghold in Iraq. Eleven days into what is expected to be the biggest ground offensive in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, army and federal police units were fighting off sniper fire and suicide car bombs south of Hammam al-Alil, the site of the reported executions on the outskirts of Mosul, an Iraqi military spokesman said. The executions were meant "to terrorize the others, those who are in Mosul in particular", and also to get rid of the prisoners, said Abdul Rahman al-Waggaa, a member of the Nineveh provincial council.