FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2011
Defendants Obtained Thousands of Credit Cards in the Names of Hundreds of Fake
Identities in Wide-Ranging Bust Out Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – Razia Bibi of Dayton, N.J., and Tahir Lodhi, of Hicksville, N.Y., were arrested today and charged with participating in a credit card “bust out” conspiracy by, among other things, creating hundreds of fraudulent identities to obtain thousands of credit cards, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Bibi, 32, and Lodhi, 52, were arrested this morning and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The defendants are scheduled to appear today before United States Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court.
U.S. Attorney Fishman stated, “The defendants’ fraud was expansive, long-running, and sophisticated, tallying up millions of dollars in losses. These types of frauds hurt all consumers and raise the costs for the rest of us just so the defendants can line their pockets.”
Michael B. Ward, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Newark Division, stated, "Unfortunately credit card bust out schemes, like the one carried out by the subjects arrested today, are becoming increasingly prevalent and the impact on consumer pricing is significant. To combat this problem, law enforcement has created dedicated cyber crime units whose knowledge and sophistication are equal to the task, and today's arrests are just another example of that dedicated effort to combat cyber crime."
According to the criminal complaint unsealed today:
Between in or about November 2006 through the present, Bibi, Lodhi, and others: (1) fraudulently applied for credit card accounts in the names of third parties, many of whom were fictitious individuals created by the conspirators; (2) directed credit cards obtained by this fraud to addresses that they controlled; (3) raised the credit limit on these credit cards by paying off small purchases; and (4) “busted out” the credit cards by charging large amounts on the credit cards and failing to pay off the balances.
For example, the defendants obtained approximately 11 cards under the fictitious identity of “Mona Chaudry.” After directing mail regarding these cards to addresses that they controlled, the defendants accessed credit reports relating to some of these cards from their homes and businesses. In or about April 2011, videotape from an in-store security camera showed defendant Bibi “busting out” one of the fraudulent Chaudry cards in a Jersey City jewelry store by charging thousands of dollars in jewelry that was not actually purchased, and then signing the receipt “Mona Chaudry.”
In total, the conspirators fraudulently obtained over 3,900 credit cards in the names of over 600 different people, causing losses of over $10,000,000. The investigation has previously resulted in the arrest of two other individuals and the seizure of more than $2 million in gold from a jewelry store located in Jersey City, N.J. In addition, law enforcement has determined that the defendants control several luxury automobiles, including late-model Toyota Land Cruisers and Lexus brand sedans, and have purchased thousands of dollars in electronics and spa treatments, as well as luxury brand clothing, handbags, and accessories, with proceeds from the fraud.
The count with which the defendants are charged carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ward, for their role in the investigation leading to today’s arrests, as well as Postal Inspectors, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the
defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.