Four jewelers have been charged as accessories to what the FBI calls “a $200 million credit card fraud scam.”
According to a criminal complaint posted on the website for the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, the four men—owners of the Jersey City, N.J. stores Ashu Jewels, Tanishq Jewels, and Raja Jewels—were among 13 people arrested on Feb. 5 in connection with the alleged scam. The jewelers allegedly aided a “criminal enterprise” that fabricated identities to obtain credit cards and doctored credit reports, the complaint said.
The stores would allegedly allow the defendants to conduct fake transactions on the credit cards and then split the proceeds. This aided the scheme by allowing transactions to go through before merchant processors shut down the account, the complaint charges.
The complaint further charges that, in two of the stores, more than 90 percent of the charges processed through its merchant terminals were allegedly fraudulent. In the third, more than 60 percent of the charges were said to be fraudulent. All in all, the three stores are charged with processing more than $1 million in fraudulent charges.
The defendants were each charged with one count of bank fraud, according to an FBI statement.
The jewelers could not be reached for comment, but an attorney for one suggested to The Newark Star-Ledger that his client was not involved in the scheme, and that some other defendants may have had “limited” involvement.