Five Defendants Charged With Defrauding Banks Of Over $2.5 Million With Credit Card ‘Bust Out’ Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – Five individuals were charged today with allegedly using stolen and altered identities to fraudulently obtain credit cards and make over $2.5 million in charges that were never repaid, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Talat Ali Maan, 44, of Germantown, Maryland, Syed Rehman, 51, of Jersey City, New Jersey, Kashif Idrees, 36, of Germantown, Jaheed Wahed Ahmed, 54, of Jersey City, and Fatou Djambo, 37, of Philadelphia, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiring to defraud financial institutions.
Rehman and Djambo were arrested this morning and are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court. Maan was arrested in Maryland and will appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Maryland. Ahmed and Idrees remain at large.
According to the complaint:
The defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme to use stolen and fraudulently altered identities to obtain credit cards from banks and then use those credit cards to make purchases that they had no intention to repay, leaving the banks to bear the losses of the scheme.
Specifically, the defendants stole the identities of actual people and then, in many cases, created “synthetic identities” by pairing the name and social security number for an actual person with a fictitious birth date. When creating the synthetic identities, the defendants often used the name and social security number of an actual minor and combined them with a fictitious birth date that made the identity appear to be that of an adult.
The defendants then used the stolen and synthetic identities to obtain lines of credit, primarily through opening credit card accounts at banks. These cards were maintained in good standing with the banks long enough to establish the creditworthiness of the stolen and synthetic identities. The defendants then “busted out” the cards by making large purchases and never repaying the debts associated with those purchases.
The defendants also incorporated and registered in various states numerous purported companies that did little or no legitimate business. The defendants obtained credit card processing equipment by opening merchant processing accounts in the names of these sham companies, and then used that equipment to make the charges on the fraudulent credit cards.
In addition, Rehman maintained a Jersey City convenience store located at the same address as a gas station. From time to time, the defendants used that business to make charges to the fraudulent cards. The defendants also used the fraudulent cards to purchase merchandise from a Secaucus, New Jersey, warehouse store that they then sold for a profit at the convenience store.
The defendants routinely used “drop addresses” in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland as the purported mailing addresses for the phony cards and the sham companies.
The charge of conspiring to defraud financial institutions carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Ruth Mendonca, with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.
The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government is represented by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.