Fraudster Sentenced for $25 Million ID Theft and Money Laundering Conspiracy
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Amit Chaudhry, 44, of Ashburn, was sentenced today to nine years in prison for his role and participation in a sophisticated and large-scale identity theft and credit card fraud conspiracy that resulted in a loss of over $25 million. Chaudhry was also ordered to pay $4.1 million in restitution.
Chaudhry pleaded guilty on Sept. 22, 2016, to charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit visa fraud. According to court documents, Chaudhry is an Indian national who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005. Beginning in 2011, Chaudhry was part of a large, international wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy that involved processing stolen credit card numbers and laundering the proceeds through hundreds of bank accounts. Some of these bank accounts were set up in the name of shell companies, which did no real business. This fraud and money laundering conspiracy was carried out in part by teams of individuals working together in India, the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Some members would obtain the personal identifying information of real people; other members would obtain the credit card information from actual credit card customers, and yet others would be responsible for electronically processing the stolen credit card transactions. Chaudhry helped laundering the proceeds of the credit card fraud and assisting co-conspirators who would come to the United States from India to open bank accounts used to hold and receive fraud proceeds.
According to court documents, Chaudhry also helped conceal and launder proceeds from a fraud scheme that targeted customers seeking cheap travel, including airline tickets and hotel reservations. Chaudhry helped to promote the fraudulent travel websites, including through mass mailings to prospective customers. Other members of the conspiracy would hold themselves out as prospective travel agents to customers. Customers’ travel itineraries would be purchased with stolen credit cards, which often resulted in those reservations being canceled. The customer’s money would be held and transferred among bank accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy, including Chaudhry. There were more than 1,000 victims from this fraud, which used various sophisticated means to conceal the identities of the conspirators.
According to court documents, Chaudhry was also involved in a separate money laundering conspiracy with Jacqueline Green-Morris, who previously pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy. Chaudhry and Green-Morris came up with a fraudulent billing scheme, whereby Chaudhry would submit inflated and fraudulent invoices for IT training to Victim A, a contractor based in Virginia. Green-Morris used her position as an employee at Victim A to pay these fraudulent invoices. Chaudhry and Green-Morris split the fraud proceeds, which totaled approximately $4.1 million between 2012 and June 2016.
According to court documents, from at least 2001 and through at least June 2016, Chaudhry and others conspired to commit visa fraud by submitting false and fraudulent H-1B visa applications by and through various entities that the Chaudhry and others owned and controlled, including Networkxchange, Technologyxchange, Secure Networks, and the Knowledge Center. The conspiracy involved the submission of false and fraudulent applications and supporting documentation to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Some of these documents were signed using the name John King, a journalist who is CNN’s chief national correspondent.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Thomas J. Holloman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Washington D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington; Joseph W. Cronin, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Christian Schurman, Acting Director of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) for the U.S. Department of State, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine L. Wong and Kimberly R. Pedersen prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-cr-211.