A Lyndhurst man, owner of a Jersey City jewelry store, pleaded guilty last week to a role in what authorities termed one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the U.S. Justice Department.
According to New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, 51-year-old Vinod Dadlani used his shop, Tanishq Jewels, in a scam in which the conspirators fabricated more than 7,000 identities and obtained tens of thousands of credit cards. The result: over $200 million in confirmed losses to businesses and banks.
Dadlani, indicted last October, pleaded guilty June 18 in Federal Court in Trenton to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gain/loss caused by the offense. He is reportedly the 17th conspirator to admit guilt.
According to authorities, the scheme involved a process in which the defendants would create a false identity and a fraudulent credit profile with the major credit bureaus and then doctor the credit reports to pump up their spending/ borrowing power.
“They then borrowed or spent as much as they could, based on the phony credit history, but did not repay the debts,” Fishman’s office said.
Fishman’s office said Dadlani admitted that other conspirators came to his store, where he allowed them to swipe cards he knew did not legitimately belong to them. Dadlani would then split the proceeds of the phony transactions with them.
Tanishq Jewels was one of many complicit businesses involved in the scam, which reportedly operated from 2003 until early 2013.
“The scope of the criminal fraud enterprise required Dadlani’s conspirators to construct an elaborate network of false identities,” a statement from Fishman noted. “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 for the false identities.”
Dadlani’s sentencing is scheduled Sept. 24 before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton.
– Karen Zautyk