A Hicksville, New York, man was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for his role in one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the Justice Department.
Ijaz Butt, 57, previously pleaded guilty to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Judge Thompson imposed the sentence on Wednesday, November 2, in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Butt was originally charged in February 2013 as part of a conspiracy to fabricate more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. Since then, 19 people, including Butt, have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme.
The scheme involved a three-step process in which the defendants would make up a false identity by creating fraudulent identification documents and a phony credit profile with the major credit bureaus; pump up the credit of the false identity by providing bogus information about that identity’s creditworthiness; then borrowed or spent as much as they could without repaying the debts – causing more than $200 million in confirmed losses to businesses and financial institutions.
The scope of the criminal fraud enterprise required Butt and other conspirators to construct an elaborate network of false identities. Across the country, the conspirators maintained more than 1,800 “drop addresses,” including houses, apartments and post office boxes, which they used as the mailing addresses of the false identities.
Butt admitted that he helped obtain credit cards in the name of third parties – many of which were fictional – then directed the credit cards to be mailed to addresses controlled by members of the conspiracy. He also admitted they knew the cards would be used fraudulently at businesses.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Thompson sentenced Butt to three years of supervised release and fined him $3,000.