SPECIAL/CREDIT CARD FRAUD
‘The general feeling is of shock’
Business owners in the ‘Indian market’ on Newark Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey, where federal agents shut down three jewelry stores for alleged
credit card fraud, were shocked that their fellow businessmen could have done what has been unearthed.
“There is a somber mood in the market here,” said
Bhavesh Dave, president of the local merchant chamber of
commerce, “because of what has been reported in the
media and what some people actually saw but could not
believe — the handcuffing of one jewelry store owner by the
feds and his being taken away late in the evening,”
There are over 160 businesses in the market, most of
them grocery and Indian garment stores as well as restau-
rants. There are a few jewelry stores, three of which the
feds have shut down.
“The general feeling is of shock,” said Dave, who has a
store on the block.
Federal agents at the Indian market
“But I think the goodwill will be restored, if not right now,
in the future. After all, they have been doing businesses
here for years and had the faith of Indian-American con-
— Suman Guha Mozumder
splurged on cars,
The alleged fraudsters arrested last week in the largest-ever credit card fraud in the United States apparently enjoyed lifestyles much beyond they could have afforded with legitimate incomes.
According to records of the New York and New Jersey labor
departments, many of the co-conspirators — including Babar
Qureshi, Muhammad Shafiq Ahmed and Nasreen Akhtar — have
no reported legitimate employment in the last five years.
Qureshi allegedly made a wire transfer of $500,000 as
recently as September 2012. Since 2005, prosecutors
said, over $1 million has flowed through one of his many
More than $750,000 has flowed through one of
Ahmed’s bank accounts since June 2007 and more than
$450,000 has flowed through one of Ijaj Butt’s accounts
The prosecutors said the defendants used the ill-gotten
wealth to buy luxury cars, electronics, spa treatments,
high-end clothing and millions of dollars in gold.
Some also stockpiled large sums of cash. Law enforcement officials discovered about $68,000 in cash in the
kitchen oven of one member of the fraud enterprise.
The prosecutors said due to the size of the fraud — it
involved over 25,000 fraudulent credit cards — final
confirmed losses may grow substantially above the present $200 million-plus mark.
The profits from the conspiracy did not go to only a
few individuals, but supported a massive network of co-conspirators over years. The prosecutors said the complaint charges only the top members of the fraud enterprise and there are numerous individuals involved who
have not been charged so far.
An analysis made by the prosecutors of over 169 bank
accounts of the defendants, sham companies, and complicit businesses, has identified over $60 million in proceeds from the fraud enterprise that flowed through the
accounts, much of it withdrawn in cash.
‘Millions of dollars were also wired overseas to
Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada,
Romania, China and Japan by the co-conspirators,’ the
— Suman Guha Mozumder
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