NEWARK, N.J. – A New York man was arrested for his role in one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the Justice Department.

Habib Chaudhry, 49, of Valley Stream, New York, was initially charged by complaint in February 2013 and then by indictment in September 2013. Chaudhry has been a fugitive for nearly four years. He is expected to make his initial appearance later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Chaudhry was indicted as part of a conspiracy – led by Tahir Lodhi, Babar Qureshi, Ijaz Butt, and others – to fabricate more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. Since then, 19 people, have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme.

The scheme involved a three-step process in which the defendants would make up a false identity by creating fraudulent identification documents and a phony credit profile with the major credit bureaus; pump up the credit of the false identity by providing bogus information about that identity’s creditworthiness; then borrow or spend as much as they could without repaying the debts. The scheme caused more than $200 million in confirmed losses to businesses and financial institutions.

The scope of the criminal fraud enterprise required the conspirators to construct an elaborate network of false identities. Across the country, the conspirators maintained more than 1,800 “drop addresses,” including houses, apartments and post office boxes, which they used as the mailing addresses for the false identities.   back...
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