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Prison bars. Representational image. Flickr

New York, March 10, 2017: 16 Indian origin people were arrested for being a part of Identity theft ring which is allegedly responsible for cheating and stealing personal credit information of hundreds of individuals in the United States, reported PTI.

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All the 30 members of the group were arrested in a major crackdown by the US authorities and were charged with criminal offenses such as Theft, fraud, Burglary, etc.

The ring accused of larceny defrauded hundreds of consumers and costing the individuals, financial institutions and retail businesses more than USD 3.5 million in losses over the course of the massive scam.

Muhammad Rana, 40, of Queens in New York was the leader of the gang who was aided by his deputy Inderjeet Singh (24).

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Other Indian origins charged in the multiple-count indictment are:

Sonam Kukreja (26),

Balwinder Singh (36),

Ranjeet Singh (30),

Ankit Chadha (29),

Kamaljot Singh (24),

Tanveer Sidhu (25),

Gaurav Chhabra (33),

Pradeep Grover (46),

Gurbachan Singh (55),

Shingara Singh (28),

Sukhjinder Singh (32),

Tajinder Singh (25),

Vinny Maksudpuri (age not given), Queens.

and Varinder Singh (27) of 118th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said yesterday many of the defendants charged are blamed for continuing shopping binges, acquiring a huge number of dollars, top of the line gadgets and fashion merchandise with forged credit cards that contained the record data of bank accounts of the unsuspecting consumers.

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As part of their alleged scheme, the defendants ordered new credit cards for cardholders and stole them out of the cardholders’ mailboxes when they were delivered, Brown added.

Brown further added that to get a nab at the fraudsters in this massive scam, 24 search warrants were executed earlier this week throughout Queens and Nassau Counties and numerous items recovered including USD 400,000 in cash, numerous gold coins and gold bars valued at about USD 1,300 dollars each – binders with the personal information of hundreds of thousands of individuals, firearms, card readers and various amounts of raw material, such as blank credit cards and fake identifications.

389 criminal charges have been levelled against the defendants accusing them of being members and partners of an organized criminal endeavor functioned in Queens between April 2015 and January 2017.

The probe leading to the indictments and arrests began in April 2015 when police officers assigned to the Police Department’s Identity Theft Squad commenced the investigation into an identity theft ring.

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As reported by PTI, the probe into the matter went through strenuous investigation over various modes and intel involving physical surveillance, intelligence gathering, and court authorised electronic eavesdropping on dozens of different telephones in which thousands of conversations were intercepted, which required them to be translated from Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Spanish into English.

The gang contoured the scam with each precise details of the victims, which were gathered by gang member Ranvie Seepersad as a ”profile supplier”. He obtained the “profiles” information such as a victim’s name, date of birth, current and past addresses, social security number, current and past employment information, phone numbers, bank and credit card account numbers by stealing the financial information himself.

After the profiles were received by the gang, the information was then provided to an “account activator,” who then compiled and organized the information, prepared the accounts to be taken over and, in some cases, actually took over the accounts by calling into banks and impersonating the true cardholders.

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Rana provided their associates in the crime with the stolen credit cards, alongside the counterfeit identity proofs for them to shop. He guided them as to which electronics, top of the line jewelry and gift cards to purchase.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard


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