Indian pleads guilty in USD 200 mln credit card fraud scheme

Indian pleads guilty in USD 200 mln credit card fraud scheme

An Indian businessman in the US has pleaded guilty to his role in a USD 200 million credit card fraud scheme, one of the biggest ever in America, and faces 15 years in prison.

Vijay Verma, 46, of Iselin, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of access device fraud.

Verma became the 18th conspirator to admit his role in the scheme, US Attorney Paul Fishman said.

Verma could also pay a USD 250,000 dollar fine when he is sentenced in September.
According to documents filed in the case, Verma was indicted in October 2013 as part of a scheme to fabricate more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards.

Participants in the scheme doctored credit reports to pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards.

They then borrowed or spent as much as they could, based on the phony credit history, but did not repay the debts, causing more than USD 200 million dollars in confirmed losses to businesses and financial institutions.

These debts were incurred at Verma's jewellery store, where he would allow fraudulently obtained credit cards to be swiped in phony transactions.

The scheme involved a three-step process in which the defendants would make up a false identity by creating fraudulent identification documents and credit profile with the major credit bureaus, pump up the credit of the false identity by providing false information about that identity's creditworthiness to those credit bureaus and then run up large charges.

Verma admitted that he allowed others who came to his Jersey City store to swipe cards he knew did not legitimately belong to them.

Verma would then split the proceeds of the phony transactions with these other conspirators.

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