Several individuals of South Asian origin are among eleven people charged with alleged credit card fraud, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Five complaints were unsealed June 26, in federal court in Brooklyn charging 11 defendants, who prosecutors say, carried out an alleged scheme to defraud banks by using fake, or “synthetic,” identities to obtain credit cards, and making approximately $3 million in charges that were never repaid to the issuing financial institutions, according to U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue and other officials, who made the announcement in a June 27, press release from his office. Three of the defendants were also charged with money laundering conspiracy, designed to conceal the source of the proceeds of their scheme.
Nine defendants were arrested June 26. Eight defendants made their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom and were released on bond. One defendant was scheduled to appear June 27, before Magistrate Judge Bloom. Two defendants are not in custody, according to the press release.
Defendants, all of whom are from New York, include Bahader Thiara, 42, of Queens Village, N.Y.; Hafeez Ali, 54, of Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn; Mohammad Akhtar, 43, Flushing, N.Y.; Nadezhda Epshteyn, 44, Rockaway Park, N.Y.; Cyrus Shroff, 45, also of Rockaway Park, N.Y.; Anis Khan, 32, Sheepshead Bay, N.Y.; Daljeet Singh, 46, College Point, N.Y. (also known as “Akhtar Iqbal”; Zainoelbaks Karimbux, 50, Bellerose, N.Y.; and Gursimardeep Singh Rai, 34, Bronx, N.Y., are charged with access device fraud. Bahader Thiara, Perminder Thiara, 40, Queens Village, N.Y.; and Shaila Khondkar, 48, Jamaica, N.Y., are also charged with money laundering conspiracy.
The charges are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted. If convicted, the defendants charged with access device fraud face up to 10 years’ in prison, and up to 20 years for money laundering conspiracy.
The documents filed in court allege that between January 2013 and December 2017, the defendants used synthetic identities created by using various types of personal identification information (names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers) from different individuals to create a fake identity and obtain credit cards from financial institutions. The court filings go on to allege that the accused then used those cards for expenditures that they had no intention to repay, including mortgages on three residential properties in Queens, New York.
Prosecutors allege that the defendants also used shell companies to record hundreds of thousands of dollars on those credit cards, and then received payment for the alleged sham transactions from financial institutions and credit card processors.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Temidayo Aganga-Williams and David Lizmi are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Tanisha Payne of the Office’s Civil Division is handling forfeiture matters.