Habib Chaudhry, a New Yorker, has been detained after remaining a fu-gitive for nearly four years in a case alleging to have been involved in more than $200 million credit card fraud schemes, one of the largest ever charged by the Justice De-partment.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman made the announcement on January 23, stating that Chaudhry, 49, of Valley Stream, New York, was initially charged by complaint in Febru-ary 2013 and then by indictment in Septem-ber 2013. He was expected to make his initial appearance Jan. 23 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court, Fishman said.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court. Fishh-man said in a press note, Chaudhry was in-dicted as part of a conspiracy, led by Tahir Lodhi, Babar Qureshi, Ijaz Butt, and others to fabricate more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. Since then, 19 people have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme.
The scheme involved a three-step pro-cess — the defendants would make up a false identity by creating fraudulent identification documents and a phony credit profile with the major credit bureaus, then pump up the credit of the false identity by providing bogus information about that identity’s creditwor-thiness, and finally 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 enter-prise required the conspirators to construct an elaborate network of false identities. Across the country, the conspirators main-tained more than 1,800 “drop addresses,” including houses, apartments and post office boxes, which they used as the mailing ad-dresses for the false identities.