The United States’ Department of Justice on Friday said 15 people, including seven Indians, and five call centres in Ahmedabad have been indicted in a multimillion-dollar scam that defrauded over 2,000 US citizens and resulted in over $5.5 million (Rs 39.6 crore) in losses, reported PTI.

Seven people linked with the scam were arrested on Thursday in the United States.

US Attorney Byung J Pak said the scheme involved call centre operators who called people while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service or as individuals offering payday loans, reported AP.

They would later threaten victims with arrest, imprisonment, or fines for failing to pay taxes or penalties to the government. The India-based call centres used a network of US-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds using prepaid debit cards or wire transfers.

“IRS and payday loan phone schemes seek to profit by exploiting United States citizens, including the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Pak. “This indictment and yesterday’s [Thursday’s] arrests demonstrate our commitment to identifying and prosecuting those who hide behind these types of phone scams.”