13 Indians charged in US credit card scam

New York, Oct 8 (PTI) In the biggest identity theft scam in the US history, 111 people, including at least 13 of Indian origin, have been charged by federal authorities for stealing credit card data of thousands of customers to buy high-end products worth over USD 13 million, including Apple gadgets and fancy bags from Gucci.

Among those indicted in `Operation Swiper` are bank tellers, store employees and restaurant workers who allegedly skimmed customers` personal IDs.

Many of the defendants are accused of going on nationwide shopping sprees, staying at five-star hotels, renting luxury automobiles and private jets with forged credit cards that contained the account information of unsuspecting American and European consumers.

The defendants are members of five organised forged credit card and identity theft rings based in Queens County and have ties to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Charged in 10 indictments, the defendants perpetrated fraud that cost financial institutions and retail businesses more than USD 13 million in losses over a 16-month period.

The indictments charge that Imran Khan, Ali Khweiss, Anthony Martin, Sanjay Deowsarran and Amar Singh were "bosses" of criminal enterprises and received the necessary raw material ? lists of credit card account numbers and various blank credit cards.

Among the Indian-origin people charged are Vishnu Harilal, Ravindra Singh, Amar Singh, Neha Punjabi Singh, Ravi Ramroop and Kamal Sanasi.

Eighty-six of the defendants are in custody and 25 are presently being sought.

In addition, nearly 24 defendants are variously charged in six indictments with participating in burglaries and robberies throughout Queens County.