Justice grinds slowly but in the case of one Iranian
does end in a hefty financial slap down and stay behind bars.
Milad Kalantari, 32, an Iranian citizen, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. of the Southern District of Mississippi. Kalantari was arrested in December 2015, when he entered the United States at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. On Oct. 6, 2016, Kalantari pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft and access device fraud and one count of substantive access device fraud.
As part of the plea, Kalantari admitted that he was a member of a financial fraud conspiracy that owned and operated numerous websites, in Kalantari’s name, dedicated to the distribution and sale of stolen credit and debit card information belonging to victims all over the world – including citizens and banks located throughout the United States.
As part of the scheme, Kalantari sold approximately 2.5 million stolen credit cards on his websites, with an intended loss amount valued at over $1.2 billion. More than $35 million in actual losses have been confirmed with U.S. companies including more than $26 million in losses to Discover Card and almost $5 million in losses to American Express.
In a March 9, 2017 press release, Department of Justice noted he was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for access device fraud and 60 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit identity theft and access device fraud, to be served concurrently, in connection with an international scheme to sell credit card information online. He was further ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution.
Senior Counsel Peter Roman of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Helen Wall of the Southern District of Mississippi prosecuted the case, which was investigated by HSI’s Gulfport Regional Office.
–The rest of the story–
According to Sun Herald, a local news outlet in Biloxi, MS;
Milad Kalantari was an Iranian national whose cybercrime victims include three South Mississippi banks and thousands of its customers. He flew to New York after winning a lottery that allowed him to obtain a U.S. permanent resident visa, a federal agent’s affidavit said.
Kalantari came under investigation in a probe of the Yahoo Boys, a West African criminal organization, a Homeland Security Investigations agent in Gulfport said in an affidavit. The Yahoo Boys use international hackers and underground Iranian, Russian and Vietnamese groups to conduct financial fraud schemes, the agent said.
How he got a visa
A federal agent in May had a Yahoo chat session with one of Kalantari’s co-conspirators and learned Kalantari planned to move to the U.S. because he had won the United States Diversified State Lottery (the green lottery), an affidavit said.
A federal agent contacted the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and learned Kalantari had indeed won the lottery; he was scheduled for an interview Dec. 2, a court document said. The agent obtained an arrest warrant for Kalantari on a charge of bank fraud. Federal agents from Gulfport, Tampa and New York City arrested him Dec. 21 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.
How was he linked?
HSI identified Kalantari through a search of his email accounts, the agent said, and learned his websites use stolen card data belonging to residents of the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France and other countries. He had communicated via email with his sister, attending a Oklahoma university on a student visa, a document said. An email attachment identified his bank in Iran and his address in Sari, Mazandaran. An undercover agent bought stolen data from one of Kalantari’s websites three times in December and received the stolen card information of 68 Mississippians, the indictment said.”
Read article HERE.
In February 2013 according to their press release, DoJ also swept up eighteen people in International, $200 Million Credit Card Fraud Scam. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Ijah Butt and others conspired to fabricate more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. The defendants doctored credit reports to increase spending and borrowing power, used that power and never repaid the debts, causing millions in losses to businesses and financial institutions, prosecutors said. The conspirators used the ill-gotten gains on luxury automobiles, electronics, spa treatments, high-end clothing and “millions of dollars” in gold, according to the government’s complaint, and also stockpiled large sums of cash. Investigators who analyzed 169 bank accounts connected to the enterprise determined that millions of dollars were wired overseas to Canada, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Romania and the United Arab Emirates, the complaint said. The case was brought in coordination with the federal Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and investigated by the FBI’s Cyber Division, the U.S. Secret Service and inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service. The U.S. Social Security Administration also played a role in the investigation.
The defendants also moved millions of dollars through accounts under their control, and wired millions of dollars overseas. An analysis of 169 bank accounts of the defendants, sham companies, and complicit businesses has identified $60 million dollars in proceeds that flowed through the accounts, much of it withdrawn in cash. The conspirators wired millions of dollars to Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Romania, China and Japan. Due to the massive scope of the conspiracy, which involved over 25,000 fraudulent credit cards, loss calculations are ongoing. Final figures may grow beyond the present confirmed losses of more than $200 million.
The charge and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. Those listed in the complaint: Tahir Lodhi, Babar Qureshi, Muhammad Shafiq, Qaiser Khan, Shafique Ahmed, Habib Chaudhry (fugitive until 1/20/17), Raghbir Singh, Muhammad Naveed, Khawaja Ikram, Nasreen Akhtar, Mohammad Khan, Azhar Ikram, Shahid Raza, a/k/a “Abid Mian”, Vernina Adams, Sat Verma, Vijay Verma, Tarsem Lal, Vinod Dadlani. [13-061 – Qureshi, Babar, et al., Complaint] More than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners were involved.
I don’t care about stereotyping or PC. This is total BS.
In this group of indictments and complaints only one name appears to be other than Iranian, Pakistani or some other Middle Eastern locale. Oddly enough no information of a personal nature such as citizenship or refugee status or entitlements was listed in the few articles I read. I of course can not imagine why not (sarcastic).
These people conspired and carried out financial criminal activities which cost innocent citizens millions of dollars. Ultimately their activities has and will continue to cost taxpayers huge amounts from the first day they entered the US, to bringing them to trial, and then to house them in prisons. Apparently not just one but at least two massive major international credit card schemes (unless the above is also part of the first) have hit our people as well as banks and citizens of the world in the last three to five years.
NOW tell me WHY we should be allowing “green card lotteries” and visas or refugee status for people like these? This is an entire network of many who had to plan over a large area of the country as well as overseas, coordinate, and carry out this large an operation both on the internet and through other means. Jihad is not just riots but affects every aspect of life attacking at the roots to weaken then destroy the whole. Its implications are staggering for the scope of what has been happening in OUR country for the last eight years thanks to Obama and his Muslim Brotherhood buddies.
HOW MANY MORE people will be sucker punched and have their personal information and bank accounts trolled before someone in Congress stops these people? I honestly am glad the CIA and other intelligence agencies are available BUT apparently they are too busy meddling in foreign affairs, creating wars where none should be, and spying on all American citizens to catch more than a fraction of the real problems facing national security and our financial system. The amount of manhours and manpower needed to get these people in front of a judge then the amount needed to imprison them is ridiculous. In one or two I read the judges went so light on the perpetrators that it seemed more cost efficient to DEPORT rather than bring them to trial.
Trump has every right to shut down on immigration and refugee influx until at a minimum the worst are stopped. Main stream media has been complicit in covering this crap up for all those years instead of staying on top of the real news not the “fake screenplay crap” they have been force-fed to post. CIA and all of the intelligence groups need to shut up about Trump and after screening their own departments for “treasonous bugs” need to get on with their real jobs – minus contractors who seem unable to keep national security information confidential.