19 crooks, 7,000 false identities, 1,800 drop addresses, and $200 million in credit card fraud

The New Jersey DA's office just announced that it had arrested New York's Habib Chaudhry in connection with a $200M credit-card fraud; Mr Chaudhry joins 19 others who've pleaded guilty to the frauds.

According to the DA, the fraudsters created more than 7,000 false identities, manufactured credit histories for them, applied for credit cards in their names — using 1,900 drop addresses — and then rang up $200 million in fraudulent charges.

Chaudhry had been a fugitive for four years.

The scheme involved a three-step process in which the defendants would make up a false identity by creating fraudulent identification documents and a phony credit profile with the major credit bureaus; pump up the credit of the false identity by providing bogus information about that identity's creditworthiness; then borrow or spend as much as they could without repaying the debts. The scheme caused 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.

Fugitive Arrested In $200 Million Credit Card Fraud Scam

[US District Attorney's Office/District of New Jersey]

(via The Gruqq)

(Image: Credit Cards, NY Photographic, CC-BY-SA)