NEWARK – Ten individuals, including three Iselin residents, who allegedly participated in one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the Justice Department now face a 25-count indictment charging additional crimes, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Friday.
Babar Qureshi, 59, Vijay Verma, 46, and Tarsem Lal, 74, all of Iselin, have been charged with bank fraud conspiracy and wire fraud.
Nine of the defendants charged in the indictment unsealed last week were previously charged by complaint in February in connection with the scheme, which allegedly caused more than $200 million in losses. The complaint charged 18 defendants with bank fraud conspiracy, alleging their participation in a scheme to fabricate more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. Many of those defendants have since pleaded guilty to related charges. The indictment announced on Sept. 27 adds wire fraud charges against seven of the defendants with pending cases.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The scheme involved a three-step process. The defendants would make up a false identity by creating fraudulent identification documents and a fraudulent credit profile with the major credit bureaus. Then they would pump up the credit of the false identity by providing false information about that identity’s creditworthiness to those credit bureaus. Finally, they borrowed or spent as much as they could, based on the phony credit history, but did not repay the debts – causing more than $200 million in confirmed losses to businesses and financial institutions.
The scope of the criminal fraud enterprise required the conspirators to construct an elaborate network of false identities. Across the country, the conspirators maintained more than 1,800 “drop addresses,” including houses, apartments and post office boxes, which they used as the mailing addresses for the false identities.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge, and each of the wire fraud charges, carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Fishman praised special agents of the FBI’s Cyber Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; postal inspectors, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates; and special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James Mottola. He also thanked the U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, for its role in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel V. Shapiro and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Barbara Ward of the office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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