5 Indian-origin men charged in largest credit card fraud in US

Yoshita Singh

At least five Indian-origin men are among 18 charged here with running a $200 million global credit card fraud under which they used thousands of fake identities to dupe businesses and financial firms and wired millions of dollars to Pakistan and India.

In one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the US Department of Justice, the men fabricated identities to obtain credit cards and doctored credit reports to pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards. They created more than 7,000 false identities, many sham companies and fraudulently obtained tens of thousands of credit cards.

They would then borrow or spend as much as they could and not repay the debts, causing companies more than $200 million in confirmed losses, US Attorney Paul Fishman said. The defendants also moved millions of dollars through accounts and wired millions of dollars overseas. At least 169 accounts were analysed.

FBI officers arrested 13 men and searched locations in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Among those charged are Babar Quereshi (59), Ijaz Butt (53), Raghbir Singh (57), Mohammad Khan (48), Sat Verma (60), Vijay Verma (45), Tarsem Lal (74) and Vinod Dadlani (49). Each faces a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a million-dollar fine.

"The criminal activity highlights an extensive, sophisticated, organised scheme," Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez said. "This elaborate network utilised thousands of false identities, fraudulent bank accounts, fake companies and collusive merchants to defraud financial institutions of hundreds of millions of dollars in order to facilitate extravagant lifestyles."

Among the countries the conspirators wired money to were Pakistan, India, the UAE, Canada, Romania, China and Japan.

The defendants first made up a false identity and a fraudulent credit profile with major credit bureaus. They would then "pump up" the credit of the false identity by providing fake information to the credit bureaus. PTI

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