Guyanese ringleader in major US credit card scam jailed

Read full story:  Largest Identity Theft Case In US history

Guyanese ringleader in major US credit card scam jailed
AUGUST 25, 2012 | BY KNEWS |

Fraud Ringleader Amar Singh

A Guyanese man was earlier this month jailed by the US courts for organizing what has been described as one of the largest identity theft and credit card scams in that country.

Amar Singh, 33, agreed to a plea agreement for 5 1/3 to 10 2/3 years in prison to spare his wife, Neha Punjabi-Singh, from jail time. He was convicted on identity theft and enterprise corruption charges.

He admitted last month in court that he was running the massive scam, which included the “creation of fraudulent credit cards with stolen account information” and sending out “shoppers” “to purchase items from Apple and Best Buy for resale,” the New York Post reported.   

“You are a huge criminal. A rip-off artist extraordinary,” said Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter. “Hundreds of frauds were committed throughout the USA… this sentence is well deserved.”
Punjani-Singh, 30, pleaded guilty to petty larceny and walked away with a conditional discharge sentence.

Singh and his wife were two of the 111 suspects indicted in October for stealing more than $13 million and spending it on luxury goods and expensive hotels.
It was described as a cast of unsavory characters from Queens who were busted for allegedly manufacturing thousands of bogus credit cards and using them on massive shopping sprees and luxury vacations.

Authorities smashed several fraud rings and arrested 110 people (88 of them Guyanese) around the borough, according to court records and sources.
“They went everywhere — Apple stores, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, anywhere you can possible imagine,” said a law-enforcement source.

Singh was said in court papers as “overseeing the entire operation” — including an army of shoppers and fences to convert high-end goods to cash.
Singh allegedly received blank credit cards and account numbers from his contacts and had a whole crew of henchmen to help cash in with the phony plastic.
To complete the ruse, the crew allegedly forged identity cards.
Sources said that Singh employed his wife Punjabi-Singh as his top lieutenant — and that she would receive the high-ticket items purchased with the fake cards and funnel the cash through her personal bank account.

“They all go shopping: You go here, you go there, you buy this, you buy that,” the source said.
Both Singhs had been held on $1 million bail.
Investigators had been watching the various rings for two years, according to sources.
One defendant, Carlos Plaza, 26, was using forged cards to jet down to Miami and Puerto Rico on a private jet, the sources said.

“They were partying. This was bought on stolen credit cards,” a source said.
Plaza was charged with enterprise corruption, identity theft and grand larceny.
He allegedly manufactured credit cards in his Richmond Hill home and was held on US$250,000 bail.

Investigators, who used extensive wiretaps, also came across other crimes during the probe, sources said.
Angel Quinones, a security guard with military experience, was charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing more than $850,000 worth of computer equipment from a Citigroup location. He was held on $100,000 bail.
The parade of arrests had local bail bondsmen working overtime.
“This is a once-a-year kind of bust. These are the biggest enterprise-corruption cases we’ve seen,” said Jason Fordin, vice president of Empire Bail Bonds, noting that the only roundups of this size had involved gambling.
The credit-card fraud defendants represent “the diversity of Queens,” he said.

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  • towa towa  On 08/25/2012 at 9:48 am

    You should have been sent to jail for a longer time.

  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On 08/25/2012 at 12:23 pm

    Long prison sentences are in order with immediately deportation for all the guilty ones.
    The Cat’ o’ nine tails would have been a nice addition for the disgrace they bestowed upon all descent and hardworking Guyanese.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 08/25/2012 at 1:29 pm

    Greed and excessive greed will always breed Corruption and more corruption. Send them to jail without parole and hope that others will get the message. If you do the Crime you will also have to do the Time! What a disgrace on these Criminals who left their home land only to bring shame and disgrace on their families and relatives and their Nation. 88 of these Criminals only in Queens alone! They need repatriation and to be sent to Rehabilitation Centres for Counselling!

  • Mario  On 08/25/2012 at 2:11 pm

    Why his wife ” Singh employed his wife Punjabi-Singh as his top lieutenant — and that she would receive the high-ticket items purchased with the fake cards and funnel the cash through her personal bank account.” got off beats me…she should have more time.

  • Ron. Persaud  On 08/25/2012 at 3:07 pm

    “The underbelly of the Guyanese Society!”
    Let us remember and emphasize that:
    “Of all ‘West Indians’, Guyanese are the most generous!”
    “Of all the Caribbean territories, Guyana has the highest literacy rate”.
    “Guyanese are a modest people”.
    These were descriptions of a people that gave to the world far more positive personalities than the “Amar Singhs” and their ilk.
    As an agriculturist, I know that in every field of luxuriant sugar cane there will be some weeds; but if always offends.

  • Deen  On 08/25/2012 at 3:58 pm

    The greed and callousness of some Guyanese are unforgiveable. They leave an indelible stigma that mars the the reputation of their country and decent Guyanese. The wicked deed is done, many victims suffer and in the end the penalties meted out to the perpetrators will never repair the damage caused.

  • Tara  On 08/26/2012 at 4:51 pm

    Throw the book at this scum-bag. Guyanese were also victims of this eloborate scam.

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