By United States Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts ……
On Thursday, December 8, a New Jersey man was indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with a conspiracy to convince a Massachusetts victim to convert her bank account funds into gold, claiming her accounts had been compromised by purported drug traffickers.
Gaurang Contractor, 38, a citizen of India living in Jersey City, N.J., was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Contractor appeared in federal court in Worcester, Mass. on Dec. 16, 2022. Contractor was previously arrested on state charges on August 8, 2022.
According to the indictment, a man posing as an agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who referred to himself as “Oscar White”, contacted a victim in early August 2022 and told the victim that her bank accounts had been “compromised” by drug dealers. “Oscar White” directed the victim to withdraw funds from purported compromised bank accounts and to convert those funds to gold. It is alleged that White provided the victim with the name of a jewelry store in Hadley, Massachusetts, where the victim could purchase the gold. White then allegedly directed the victim to leave the gold in an unlocked vehicle and promised to send a “court officer” to pick up the gold for safekeeping.
On Aug. 8, 2022, Contractor drove from New Jersey to Hadley. According to court documents, Contractor conducted surveillance of the jewelry store where the victim had purchased the gold at the direction of White. Contractor allegedly followed the vehicle containing the supposed gold. Upon arriving at the meeting location, it is alleged that Contractor removed the two buckets from the vehicle and placed them in his own car. He was subsequently arrested.
The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes that govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan; and Hadley Police Chief Michael A. Mason made the announcement. Valuable assistance also was provided by the Police Department of the Worcester County town in which the victim resides. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danial Bennett and Kaitlin Brown of Rollins’ Worcester Branch Office are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.