NORTH ADAMS — A third man who police allege is a conspirator in a fraud network that bilked people of about $300,000 in cash in five states also is now facing charges and remains in custody.
Parth "Peter" Chaudhari, 23, of Adams, was arraigned Wednesday in Northern Berkshire District Court. Judge Paul Vrabel set his bail at $100,000 and a pretrial hearing for July 17. The court appointed Julia Allan as his attorney.
Chaudhari was arrested June 17 by the Albany (N.Y.) County Sheriff's Office. He was held there without bail as a fugitive from justice since a warrant was issued for his arrest in Massachusetts.
The first two to be arrested — Ajaykumar Chaudhari, 24, of Pownal, Vt., and Jitendra Chaudhari, 27, of Williamstown — were arraigned last week and remain in custody on $100,000 bail each. Their pretrial hearing also is set for July 17.
Police made the arrests after a three-month investigation, and a raid at an apartment above a smoke shop on Columbia Avenue turned up what they say is evidence of an elaborate scam that induced mostly older people to send cash in the mail. Police say they have identified nine victims so far who sent a total of about $300,000 in cash to various addresses in Massachusetts.
All three men are being held at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction.
Parth "Peter" Chaudhari is charged with larceny by false pretenses over $1,200, larceny from a person over the age of 65 and conspiracy.
Heather Bellow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.