Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Four in the net for Rs 1cr credit card fraud - - 04 Oct 2008

NEW DELHI: Though just a Class XII pass out, 32-year-old Sajid Ahmed Choudhary is an expert in computers and has allegedly cheated several banks of nearly one crore. The special staff of the south district police arrested Choudhary and his three step-brothers for the crime on Thursday.

According to the police, the gang had set up a fake travel agency called Diamond Tours and Travels. Choudhary used to approach different banks and rent out card swiping machines or EDCs from the bank. Using these machines, they used to allegedly swipe stolen credit cards to transfer money into their account. The police picked them suspecting to be terrorist, however, later found their involvement in a cheating case.

While investigating their links, the police learnt they had duped Citibank, ICICI bank and DCB bank. The first complaint was received from Citibank manager Harminder Mann in Gurgaon.

It was alleged that two persons by the names of - Vishal Verma and Anil Verma - had approached the bank. The duo opened a current account no 0005724284 in the name of Diamond Tours and Travels. Vishal Verma was shown as the proprietor of the firm, which according to the duo was functioning out of G-5, Krishna Complex, main road Nithari, Sector-31, in Noida.

The two had, reportedly, given an address in Ashram as their residence address. They deposited Rs three lakhs and requested for one EDC machine. As proof of residence, Vishal Verma submitted a copy of Passport No. E-0472233 which carried an Ashram address.

‘‘Over the next few months, it was found that several credit cards of different banks were swiped from this machine and money worth Rs 71.5 was credited into the travel agency’s account. Interestingly, all the swiped cards were issued by foreign banks to foreign customers only,’’ said DCP (south) HGS Dhaliwal. Citibank woke up to the fraud only when several of its customers started disputing the charges debited to their credit card accounts and the bank started having disputes with the card issuing banks. ‘‘During the investigation, we found Vishal Verma was actually Sajid Ahmed Choudhary of Mumbai. On Thursday, a team led by inspector Vijay Singh of the special staff conducted a raid and arrested Choudhary along with his three associates,’’ added Dhaliwal.

An expert at hacking, Choudhary revealed he had studied only up to Class XII. While working on the internet, he changes the Internet Protocol address as well as browsers to hide his presence and location. He also, allegedly, creates viruses and uses them to hack the administrative control of the website. His gang had been operating for the last four years. Initially settled in Mumbai, he started placement jobs for Reliance Infocom. He was arrested in 2005 when he hacked a Reliance website. While in jail, he met another fraudster, Kamal Kumar, who advised him on online hacking. After getting bail in the year 2005, he again started cheating.

He was arrested by the Mumbai ATS in January this year on grounds of suspicion and later, was found to be involved in a cheating case. He was released on bail in March. Since then, he shifted base to Delhi. Here, Kamal Kumar, allegedly, had already been operating a fake travel agency using the fake identity of Anil Verma since January.

The other three accused - Shabbir Ahmed, Sabir Ahmed and Shahnawaj - are his step-brothers. The accused were arrested from Madanpur Khaddar on Thursday. Among other things, Rs 7.5 lakhs, 28 credit cards of different banks and three card swiping machines were seized. Meanwhile, a police remand for eight days has been sought for the accused.

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