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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Indians, Pakistani's among $200 million US card scam ring

Thirteen men from the sub-continent are among a ring of eighteen immigrants in the US, charged in a $200 million credit card fraud ring, one of the largest in the country's history.

The scam - first discovered in New Jersey but extending to dozens of other states throughout the US - is said to have involved thousands of fake identities and businesses and laundered remittances to countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UAE, Romania and China.

Beginning in 2007, the elaborate scheme involved falsely improving the credit scores of 7,000 fake cardholders, allowing the scammers to borrow high amounts of money which they never repaid, the FBI said.

More than 25,000 credit card accounts were set up using falsified utilities records and a network of 1,800 mailing addresses.

The ring also established at least 80 front businesses and acquired credit card processing machines, swiping the fake cards and keeping the money.

Officials say they have confirmed $200m in losses so far, but say the final amount might grow "due to the massive scope of the conspiracy".

Three jewellery stores - all owned by Indian nationals - were also implicated in connection with the scheme.

Prosecutors allege that each store allowed fraudulent transactions through extra credit card processing machines and would split the proceeds with other members of the ring.

Millions are said to have been spent on buying gold, spa treatments, electronics and luxury cars.

In one raid, officials said they found $78,000 stashed in an oven.

If convicted, each of the men face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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