At least five Indian-origin men are among 18 others charged for running a whopping $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 credits cards and doctored credit reports to pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards.
They would then borrow or spend as much as they could based on their fraudulently obtained credit history and not repay the debts, looting businesses and financial institutions of more than $200 million in confirmed losses, US Attorney Paul Fishman said.
Law enforcement officers from the FBI arrested 13 men and searched locations in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Among those charged with bank fraud 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, executed against US financial institutions, which, in turn, affects every citizen of the US," 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 they could otherwise not afford," he said.