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.