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Eighteen people have been charged in New Jersey in one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever uncovered by the U.S. Department of Justice, spanning 28 states and eight countries.
FBI Special Agent James Simpson in court records said that the defendants are part of a massive international fraud enterprise involving thousands of false identities, fraudulent identification documents, doctored credit reports and more than 200 million dollars in confirmed losses.
According to court records, the scheme involved three basic steps. The defendants allegedly created thousands of fake identities, pumped up the credit histories of those fictitious people and then racked up charges on fraudulently obtained credit cards, ABC News reports.
Simpson said that 'due to the massive scope of the fraud, which involved over 25,000 fraudulent credit cards, loss calculations are ongoing and final confirmed losses may grow substantially'.
Authorities said that the proceeds were used for luxury automobiles, electronics, spa treatments, high-end clothing and millions of dollars in gold.
They also said the fraudsters also stockpiled large sums of case and approximately 70,000 dollars in cash was found in one defendant's oven.
Though the scheme targeted credit card companies, Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, said customers everywhere could feel the impact.
The defendants, including the alleged ringleaders, Babar Qureshi and Muhammad Shafiq, are due to make their initial court appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in a Newark federal court, the report added. (ANI)