AG charges Melrose couple in $2.4M tech support scam on seniors

Couple is alleged to have sent fake virus alerts, and then charged customers to fix nonexistent computer problems.

MELROSE, Mass. (AP) — The attorney general of Massachusetts charged a married couple running a tech support business for allegedly charging customers to fix nonexistent computer problems in a $2.4 million scheme.

The company run by Shalu Chawla and Vishal Chawla targeted senior citizens in Massachusetts and across the country by sending pop-up ads to their computers that warned them of viruses or other issues, and then charged them for repairs, according a civil lawsuit filed by Attorney General Maura Healey.

The office of the attorney general began to investigate Vtech Software Solutions Inc. after receiving a tip from the Federal Trade Commission, the Boston Globe reported.

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John Bacon, a lawyer who represents the couple, said that his clients are innocent victims of a relative in India for whom they set up the tech support business nine years ago. He added that the couple initially assumed the business was legitimate and had no direct contact with the customers themselves.

Healey’s office obtained an order from Suffolk Superior Court to freeze assets in the Chawlas’ bank accounts and real estate to set up a fund for restitution.

The court also allowed a preliminary injunction against the couple, their company and other respective businesses from transferring assets.

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