US Charges 18 People for 10 Years’ Worth of Credit Card Fraud, Totaling $200 Million
Federal officials announced on Tuesday, February 5th, that they charged 18 people in a credit card fraud scheme that lasted 10 years, spanned several countries, and racked up $200 million.
The case will be prosecuted in New Jersey, but the fraud spans at least eight countries – including Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, China, Romania, Japan and Canada – and 28 states.
US Attorney Paul Fishman called the credit card fraud ring “one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever uncovered” by the Justice Department.
“They used the proceeds of the crime to purchase luxury automobiles, electronics, spa treatments, high-end clothing and millions of dollars in gold,” according to the according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest complaint.
The conspirators created thousands of false identities and credit profiles in order to look more credit-worthy. The identities’ credit scores were boosted initially with a series of seemingly responsible small purchases. They then opened credit cards and took out large loans that were never repaid, and wired millions of dollars overseas.
They also relied on complicit businesses, such as jewelry stores owned by four of the defendants, which conducted sham transactions.
“Due to the massive scope of the fraud, which involved over 25,000 fraudulent credit cards, loss calculations are ongoing and final confirmed losses may grow substantially,” FBI Special Agent James Simpson said in court records.
According to authorities, the money was used on luxury vehicles, spa treatments, electronics, and millions of dollars in gold.
The two ringleaders are Babar Qureshi and Muhammad Shafiq. They will make their trial appearances on Tuesday, February 5th, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in a Newark federal court.
Names of defrauded credit card companies have not been released.
Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Can Hurt Your Future
Identity theft is act of taking the identity of others, or using others information, during a criminal act. Typically identity theft is done for financial gain or to obtain the benefits of another.
Someone’s identity may be obtained from a variety of illegal acts. An identity can be obtain from rummaging through the trash, hacking into computers, looking through public records, and hacking into credit card networks, among others.
If you have experienced identity theft, you are not alone. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help clear your name and even reinstate your social security benefits. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.