New York: Mastermind in $3M credit card fraud scheme arrested

Not all Muslims are terrorists. Many are involved in organized crime, that possibly funds terrorism.

A belated update to this prior post: New Jersey: Nearly a dozen Muslims charged in ‘elaborate’ $3M credit card scheme.

Source: AG: Mastermind in $3M scheme involving 9 JC, Secaucus residents arrested – Hudson County View

Mohammad Shahid Zaman, 42, of Staten Island, N.Y., was picked up this morning in New York by detectives of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) and agents of the ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, assisted by the New York City Police Department.

He consented to return with the DCJ detectives to New Jersey, where he was placed under arrest on charges of first-degree money laundering, second-degree theft by unlawful taking and third-degree fraudulent use of credit cards. He was lodged in the Union County Jail with bail set at $1 million, with no 10 percent option.

The other 12 defendants, many of whom live in Secaucus and Jersey City and were charged in December, allegedly created “synthetic” identities by pairing real Social Security numbers with fictitious names and birth dates, using them to open numerous checking and credit card accounts, officials said.

Zaman allegedly provided one of the defendants arrested in December, Naim Tahir, 47, of Clark, with stolen Social Security numbers and other personal identifying information used to open accounts, authorities said.

The participants allegedly opened the accounts online so as to avoid face-to-face interaction with the financial institutions. Bad checks were deposited into the bank accounts so that the accounts could be used to make payments on the credit cards, which temporarily inflated the lines of credit on the cards, officials said.

Additionally, funds were withdrawn from the bank accounts via ATM and U.S. Postal Money Order Purchases before the bad checks were discovered. Allegedly, the defendants ultimately “busted out” the credit cards by running up the unpaid balances until they reached or exceeded the credit limits.

The scheme included a group of “merchants” who in many cases ran shell businesses set up solely for the purpose of participating in this fraud, authorities said.

The merchants swiped the fraudulent credit cards using point of sale terminals and received reimbursement from credit card processing companies via wire transfer, while never actually providing any merchandise or services, officials said. The ring members allegedly then split the proceeds.

The bank accounts of the shell companies set up by the merchants also allegedly were used to launder the proceeds of the scheme, with checks being written from one company to another as if they were conducting business.

The following 12 defendants were charged by complaint in December with first-degree money laundering, second-degree theft by unlawful taking, and third-degree fraudulent use of credit cards:

Naim Tahir, 47, of Clark

Hassan Shahbaz, 42, of Jersey City

Aqeel Ahmed, 60, of Secaucus

Shama Munir, 49, of Secaucus

Faisal Mushtaq, 37, of Secaucus

Mohammad Shakeel, 46, of Jersey City

Muhammad Farooq Bhatti, 64, of Jersey City

Rilvan Junaid, 49, of Spring Valley, N.Y.

Shakeela Ahmed, 56, of Secaucus

Aqeel Sheikh, 54, of Secaucus

Mohamed Khan, 53, of Piscataway

Huda Ahmed, 27, of Secaucus

All of the defendants, with the exception of Khan, were arrested on December 8 and 9 and were lodged in the Union County Jail with bail for each initially set at $1 million, no 10 percent option.

All were granted bail reductions and posted bail, with the exception of Shahbazz and Bhatti. Sheikh posted bail but was taken into custody by ICE on a federal detainer,  Khan was arrested on Jan. 14 and was released after posting $450,000 bail, officials said.

Authorities executed search warrants in December and seized cash and bank accounts totaling approximately $1.9 million.

Not to be confused with yesterday’s Massive credit card fraud ring bust in Queens, New York; thousands of victims were compromised – Muhammad Rana, 40, of 93rd Avenue in Jamaica led the entire credit card fraud ring.

One thought on “New York: Mastermind in $3M credit card fraud scheme arrested

  1. Should they all be convicted, then deport them and entire families! We have enough problems in US without having foreign nationals defrauding American businesses and the American taxpayers

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