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Redford Twp. man indicted on tech support, opioid sales scheme charges

Hannah Mackay
The Detroit News

A Redford Township man was arrested Thursday on federal charges of conspiracy related to online tech-help scams and opioid sales, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Doyal Kalita, 35, was indicted for allegedly running several schemes aimed at defrauding users and sold drugs, said U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins of Massachusetts. 

He was scheduled to appear in court in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and in U.S. District Court on wire fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to import Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances and money laundering conspiracy charges, according to a Department of Justice news release. He will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston at a later date, federal officials said.

"The defendant and others allegedly operated a variety store of online scams," said Joleen D. Simpson, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, Boston Office. "First, they are alleged to have devised a complex help-desk scam to defraud innocent individuals who were simply trying to resolve phony computer problems."

Kalita and a co-conspirator allegedly used pop-up screens that falsely told users their computers were damaged or infected with viruses and directed them to a technical support line. Victims were connected to call centers in Michigan and India, officials allege, where they were deceived into buying products they did not need.

At the same time, Kalita and his partner allegedly sold controlled substances, including opioids, from India and Europe, to people across the U.S. According to the indictment, one other person allegedly was involved in the drug scheme as a supplier.

Kalita faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each charge and fines of nearly $3 million. 

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said tech support scams like Kalita's cost Massachusetts residents $5.3 million last year; the nationwide toll was $347 million.

Kalita's schemes have been active since 2015, authorities allege.

Rollins called Kalita's alleged crimes "cowardly" and said the U.S. government has the tools to identify and prevent online criminal activity.

"Bad actors think they can remain undetected from law enforcement while behind a computer screen," she said. "They should think again."

hmackay@detroitnews.com