HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – A New Jersey man was sentenced Wednesday in Springfield federal court for tricking a local woman to convert her bank account of more than $330,000 into gold after making her believe her account was compromised by drug traffickers.
Gaurang Contractor, 38, a citizen of India but living in Jersey City, New Jersey was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and faces deportation after completing his sentencing. Contractor pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on March 27.
In August 2022, a man claiming to be a DEA agent and referring to himself as “Oscar White” contacted the victim. He told the woman her bank account was “compromised” by drug traffickers and had to convert her life savings of $330,000 into gold. He then directed the woman to a jewelry store in Hadley where she could purchase gold and told her to leave it in her unlocked vehicle so a “court officer” could pick it up for safekeeping.
The victim was suspicious of this call and contacted local police. On August 8, 2022, Contractor drove from New Jersey to Hadley and watched an undercover agent posing as the victim enter the jewelry store and make a fake transaction for two buckets worth of gold. Contractor followed the vehicle to a nearby parking lot and removed the buckets of fake gold from the car but was arrested before he could leave the parking lot.
The Hadley Police Department, Northampton Police Department, FBI, and Hampshire/Franklin County Anti-Crime Task Force were involved in the operation.