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Leader of US fraud ring pleads guilty

27 November 2008  |  4118 views  |  0 Statue of Liberty

The leader of a criminal gang that cost financial institutions over $20 million in losses through card, wire and bank fraud has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, say officials in New York.

Tahir Ali Khan, 32, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bank, wire and credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a statement from US Attorney for Manhattan, Michael Garcia and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Prosecutors say he led a fraud gang known as the "Khan ring" that created false identification documents purporting to have been issued by government authorities, including driver's licenses, resident alien cards, social security cards, and tax identification documents.

The gang then built up financial credit for these false IDs - which members called "chickens" - to get bank and home mortgage loans and increased credit card limits.

Khan and his ring then defaulted on the loans and credit card debt, "causing millions in losses to numerous financial institutions, including the Bank of America," says the statement.

Khan has been in custody since being named as the lead defendant in a 15 person, multi-count indictment unsealed in August last year. He is the tenth defendant to plead guilty.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 10, 2009 and faces a statutory maximum sentence of 14 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offence, and mandatory restitution to the victims of the offence.

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