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Vijay Verma and Tarsem Lal sentenced in $200M credit card fraud scheme

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Vijay Verma and Tarsem Lal
Vijay Verma and Tarsem Lal

FBI agents enter Raja Jewelers, owned by Vijay Verma and Tarsem Lal in Jersey City on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Two owners of a Jersey City jewelry store were sentenced in a $200 million international credit card fraud scheme — one of the largest ever charged by federal authorities, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Vijay Verma, 49, and Tarsem Lal, 78, were sentenced last week to 14 months in prison and one year of house arrest after previously pleading guilty to their roles in the scheme, the statement said.

The two were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court. Verma and Lal 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.

Credit reports were doctored, according to officials, to “pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards.” The two men borrowed or spent as much as they could, with no intentions of ever repaying the debt. This caused more than $200 million in losses to businesses and financial institutions, according to officials in the statement.

Verma and Lal further admitted to allowing people to come into their store to use credit cards they knew did not legitimately belong to them. After the transactions were complete, the duo would split the proceeds between themselves and their co-conspirators.

Verma was also sentenced to three years of supervision upon release and 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.

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India launches ambitious vaccine inoculation drive

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India Launches Ambitious Vaccine Inoculation Drive | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India is out to prove it’s a COVID-19 vaccination superpower, as they look to not only protect 1.3 billion of its own people, but people from more than 150 countries around the world. Indian Prime Minister Modi said there is reason for his citizens to be confident in the world’s most ambitious inoculation drive with a strong delivery network, a mobile app and an enormous vaccine supply.

The state of California is suing tech giant Cisco Systems alleging discrimination against an Indian American man in the workplace. The engineer claims he was treated unfairly by two former colleagues because of his caste. But the Hindu American Foundation says the state’s argument that caste is a strict part of the Hindu religion is false and is a harmful portrayal of the faith. They argue it is not the government’s role to define any religions beliefs.

Air India is expanding its reach in the U.S. as it prepares to launch even more non-stop flights in the New Year. The airline will start non-stop services between Bengaluru and San Francisco, as well as between Hyderabad and Chicago.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indo-pacific framework documents declassified

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Indo-pacific Framework Documents Declassified | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In its final days, the Trump administration is declassifying some highly sensitive documents, including the “U.S. Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific” (SFIP), written by the National Security Council. India is shown as a rising power in the document, vital to the security of the Indo-Pacific region and important to U.S. interests.

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is starting a new political action committee called Stand for America PAC.  But so far, there’s no mention of President Trump on her donation site or web page. Haley’s spokesperson says don’t read too much into that. But Haley is widely considered a contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and could face Trump if he chooses to run again.

President-Elect Joe Biden has yet to take office, but he’s already getting down to business, unveiling a massive $1.9 trillion dollar economic relief package. If passed by Congress, it would include $1 trillion for households, with direct payments of $1400 to all Americans, and the rest going to small businesses and the fight against COVID-19.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India reveals 8-point plan to fight terrorism

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India Reveals 8 Point Plan To Fight Terrorism | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar says terrorism remains the greatest threat to global peace and India’s best interests. So he’s unveiling an eight point action plan that includes using more U.N. sanctions and mobilizing what he calls the political will to fight this menace. The minister’s defensive posture is in response to the increase in security concerns related to China and Pakistan.

Two more Indian Americans are now part of a growing list of South Asians being added to President elect Joe Biden’s administration. Neha Gupta and Reema Shah are now part of the White House Counsel’s Office. Gupta will serve as associate counsel, while Shah will be deputy associate counsel. Both attorney’s already have experience and impressive resumes serving in other Democratic administrations.  

Federal authorities say an Indian American man targeted the elderly in a massive telemarketing scam. Hirenkumar Chaudhuri admitted that he used a phony Indian passport, false name, and fake address to open several bank accounts to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme. This is the latest in a crackdown on scams using call centers in India, defrauding senior citizens and others. People of Indian descent as well as others are involved in the scams that continue to operate and are ruining India’s reputation and have the potential of affecting the nation’s multi-billion-dollar back office industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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