MINNEAPOLIS—Recently in federal court, a 34-year-old former debt collector from Lonsdale, Minnesota was indicted for bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Khemall Jokhoo was charged with 11 counts of bank fraud, 9 counts of mail fraud, 3 counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of false personation of an officer or employee of the United States. The indictment was filed on December 18, 2012.
From February 2002 until June 30, 2009, Jokhoo was registered as a debt collector with the State of Minnesota. Jokhoo was also the founder, owner, and sole employee of First Financial Services, Inc., which held a Minnesota collection agency license until November 3, 2009, when it was revoked by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. An administrative law judge had found earlier that Jokhoo had misrepresented himself as a lawyer, harassed debtors over extremely old, noncollectable accounts, made unauthorized withdrawals from debtors’ financial institutions, cashed forged checks and concealed a prior criminal record on at least seven state license applications since 2005. Federal investigators say in court filings that Jokhoo, because he was a licensed debt collector, was able to access a LexisNexis product called Accurint for Collections, giving him Social Security numbers, birth dates, employment history, credit, banking and other personal information. Jokhoo used information from LexisNexis and credit bureaus to contact people and demand money, and to impersonate them when calling their financial institutions.
The indictment states that Jokhoo, utilizing the various resources available to debt collectors, gathered information regarding individuals including dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, employment and financial information. Jokhoo purportedly used that information both in direct communications with those individuals and with communications with financial institutions and an online peer-to-peer lending company. Jokhoo allegedly contacted victims and falsely told them they had past due debts that they owed him. According to the indictment, Jokhoo sometimes made threats against the victims, placed multiple calls to the victims at unreasonable hours of the day, and contacted the victims’ families or employers as a way to induce payments from the victims. The indictment also alleges that Jokhoo fraudulently and falsely posed as the victims in communications with the financial institutions during which he would request the issuance of checks payable to First Financial. Jokhoo also purportedly used the identification of another person in an online application with a peer-to-peer lending company in an attempt to fraudulently obtain money from individual investors.
If convicted, Jokhoo faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for each count of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. In addition, he faces a potential penalty of two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft and a maximum penalty of three years in prison for one count of false personation of an officer or employee of the United States. All sentences are ultimately determined by a federal district court judge.
If you or someone you know is getting called by debt collectors, they could be scam artists just like Mr. Jokhoo. Have them contact Paramount Law for a free consultation.