Washington, March 28 (IANS) Two Indian-American men were sentenced by a US court for a $200 million international credit card fraud, one of the largest-ever exposed by federal authorities, said officials.
Vijay Verma and Tarsem Lal, both of Iselin, New Jersey, were sentenced to 14 months in prison and a year of house arrest, respectively, after previously pleading guilty to their roles in the scheme, according to a statement from the US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, news website NJ.com reported.
US District Judge Anne E. Thompson issued the sentence in Trenton federal court on Monday.
Verma and Lal, both owners of a Jersey City jewellery store, were indicted in October 2013 for fabricating more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards.
The scheme involved an “elaborate network of false identities” and thousands of “drop addresses” across the country — including houses, apartments and P.O. boxes — which were used as mailing addresses for the false identities, according to the report.
Credit reports were doctored, according to officials, to “pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards”.
The men borrowed or spent as much as they could without repaying the debts, causing more than $200 million in losses to businesses and financial institutions, said officials.
Verma and Lal both admitted to allowing people to come into their store to use credit cards they knew did not legitimately belong to them.
The two men would then split the proceeds of the phony transactions with these other conspirators, said the report.
Along with the jail terms, Verma was sentenced to three years of supervision upon release.
Lal was also sentenced to three years of probation. They were both fined $5,000 and were ordered to pay a forfeiture of nearly $500,000.