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Sept. 2, 2009

TWO CHARGED WITH POSSESSING A SKIMMING DEVICE WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD UNSUSPECTING CREDIT CARD HOLDERS

(HOUSTON) – Tahmas Ali Khan and Umair Muhammad Ghaffar have been indicted for possessing access device making equipment with the intent to defraud, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Khan, 22, a Pakistani national illegally in the United States, and Ghaffar, 23, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Pakistan, are charged in a one-count indictment returned by a Houston grand jury today with possessing a MSR Mini 123 magnetic card reader/writer/encoder. This device, commonly referred to as a skimming device, is designed and used for making access devices (credit cards) and counterfeit access devices.

The charges arise from an undercover investigation conducted by the United States Secret Service initiated in August 2009. According to the allegations in a criminal complaint filed Aug. 21, 2009, Khan delivered to a cooperating witness (CW) a skimming devise originally provided by Ghaffar, with instructions to place it in his store and capture credit card numbers of unsuspecting customers. The CW contacted the Secret Service. With the assistance of a major credit card company, the Secret Service loaded the skimming device with 10 non-active American Express credit card numbers. While under surveillance by Secret Service agents, the CW delivered the skimming device to Khan, who according to the complaint, was to be paid by Ghaffar for any stolen credit card numbers successfully loaded onto the device. Khan, in turn, delivered the device to Ghaffar. Both men were taken into custody by the Secret Service and charged.

The charged offense carries a maximum possible sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James Buchanan.

 

 

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