By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
Thirteen people were arrested in four states today, including New Jersey, for their alleged involvement in what authorities describe as one of the largest credit card fraud scams ever charged by the Department of Justice. New Jersey was at the heart of the sprawling criminal enterprise that stretched across dozens of states and numerous countries. According to the complaint, unsealed today, the defendants and their conspirators stole more than $200 million by using fake documents to obtain credit cards. “This elaborate network utilized thousands of fake identities, fraudulent bank accounts, fake companies, and collusive merchants to defraud financial institutions of hundreds of millions of dollars, in order to facilitate extravagant lifestyles they could not otherwise afford,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge, David Velazquez.
Also allegedly involved in the scheme were sham companies, as well as complicit businesses, including several in Jersey City. Authorities claim the complicit businesses would conduct sham transactions on the fraud cards and would then receive proceeds from the credit card companies and split them with the other conspirators.
Along with lavish spending on luxury items, the conspirators also wired millions of dollars overseas to Pakistan, India, Canada, Romania, China and several other countries.
So far, 18 people have been charged for their alleged involvement in the scheme which authorities have been investigating for more than 18 months.