Indian immigrant convicted to 9 years in federal prison for multimillion-dollar fraud scheme
Amit Chaudhry told it was family loyalty that made him into an international identity-theft scheme so large that it captured a television actress.
“I never really dreamt of being a felon,” the 44-year-old from Ashburn, Va., said in federal court in Alexandria on Thursday before being sentenced to nine years in prison. “This is going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”
On Sept. 21, he pleaded sinful to money laundering, identity theft, & visa fraud. He faced up to Twenty years in prison.
A citizen of India, Amit Chaudhry benefited relatives overseas run a multimillion-dollar scam that included laundering money from stolen credit cards & identities through shell bank accounts. He was part of a similar scheme promoting cheap tour packages. Customers’ money would be taken, & their hotel including airfare would be given for with stolen credit cards. Several of the more than 1,000 victims exposed parts of their tours canceled after the fraudulent charges were found.
The group earned more than $25 million off fraudulent credit cards, supported by a co-conspirator operating at American Express in India. When their prices were questioned, they would use pictures of fake passports to line them up.
The scheme was revealed in part because an FBI agent identified actress Laura Vandervoort in one of these passports. The image was taken from a picture from the television show “V” involving visas, authorities said. Vandervoort, a Canadian, also performed Supergirl on the TV series “Smallville” & last year looked like the character Indigo on the “Supergirl” TVseries.
The image, officials said, supported make clear some of the group’s online presence.
Chaudhry’s attorneys told he was acting at the direction of relatives in India.
“This was all done out of family loyalty,” defense attorney Danny Onorato told.
But Amit Chaudhry, who migrated from India in 1992, was also behind visa fraud & embezzlement schemes that held nothing to do with those crimes.
“What we’re dealing with here is not a casual wrong turn,” stated Jeffrey Abish, A chief information officer for the defrauded company ActioNet. Amit Chaudhry sent inflated & imagined IT invoices to the company, netting $4.1 million that he has now promised to repay.
Onorato told Amit Chaudhry has continued diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which might help justify his behavior. Assistant United States Attorney Katherine Wong complained: “Asperger’s doesn’t cause anyone to steal or open credit card accounts in someone else’s name.”
Amit Chaudhry is collaborating with authorities, who are still getting more victims & tracking down co-conspirators in the U.S. & abroad. 5 of those co-conspirators have now pleaded guilty in Alexandria; 2 have been imprisoned in India.
Amit Chaudhry told in court that his cooperation has made him a victim of verbal & physical harassment in the Alexandria jail. But prosecutors told he would apparently get his sentenced reduced at any point for his help.