Home Tags Posts tagged with "fake identities"

fake identities

Eighteen people have been charged with stealing at least $200 million in a credit card fraud ring, possibly one of the largest in US history.

The scam allegedly involved thousands of fake identities and businesses, lying to credit rating agencies and wiring some of the proceeds abroad.

An FBI agent said the accused had used “a virtual cafeteria of sophisticated frauds and schemes”.

The New Jersey-based scam is alleged to have operated in 28 states.

Beginning in 2007, the elaborate scheme involved falsely improving the credit scores of 7,000 fake cardholders, allowing the scammers to borrow high amounts of money which they never repaid, investigators said.

“The accused availed themselves of a virtual cafeteria of sophisticated frauds and schemes, whose main menu items were greed and deceit,” David Velazquez, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark field office, said on Tuesday.

More than 25,000 credit card accounts were set up using falsified utilities records and a network of 1,800 mailing addresses.

Prosecutors allege that in one case a defendant used a 6-year-old’s Social Security number for a fake utility bill.

The ring also established at least 80 sham businesses and acquired credit card processing machines, swiping the fake cards and keeping the money, according to a complaint filed at a New Jersey district court.

Eighteen people have been charged with stealing at least $200 million in a credit card fraud ring, possibly one of the largest in US history

Eighteen people have been charged with stealing at least $200 million in a credit card fraud ring, possibly one of the largest in US history

Officials say they have confirmed $200 million in losses so far, but say the final amount might grow “due to the massive scope of the conspiracy”.

“This type of fraud increases the costs of doing business for every American consumer, every day,” US Attorney Paul Fishman said.

“Through their greed and their arrogance, the individuals arrested today and their conspirators allegedly harmed not only the credit card issuers, but everyone who deals with increased interest rates and fees because of the money sucked out of the system by criminals acting in fraud rings like this one.”

Three jewellery stores were also implicated in connection with the scheme.

Prosecutors allege that each store allowed fraudulent transactions through extra credit card processing machines and would split the proceeds with other members of the ring.

The conspirators allegedly wired millions of dollars to Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Romania, China and Japan.

Millions more were spent on purchasing gold, spa treatments, electronics and luxury cars. In one raid, officials said they found $78,000 stashed in an oven.

Fourteen appeared before a judge on Tuesday, eight were released, and six remained in custody ahead of a bail hearing on Friday.

Each of the defendants was charged with one count of bank fraud and could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

Behind the innocent aspirations and her shy smile, the 19-year-old Gemma Barker from Staines, Middlesex, UK, led a double life that saw her pose as a boy in order to date two younger girlfriends to whom she was sexually attracted.

In an extraordinary deception, Gemma Barker created false alter egos so she could have sexual encounters with her 15 and 16-year-old victims.

Gemma Barker had three fake identities – Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack and Luke Jones.

The teenager tricked her victims by talking like a boy and wore boys’ baggy clothes, hats and hooded tops to disguise her figure.

She set up Facebook profiles for each “boy” and gave each an individual dress sense and personality.

Gemma Barker incredibly completely fooled her friends and their families by posing as three different teenage boys.

The victims were completely taken in and kissed and cuddled with her – despite both having gone to the same school as Barker.

Eventually they became suspicious that their “boyfriends” were the same person.

One took off Connor McCormack’s hat as “he” slept in her bedroom and realized it was her friend’s supposed boyfriend Aaron Lampard.

Gemma Barker created false alter egos so she could have sexual encounters with her 15 and 16-year-old victims

Gemma Barker created false alter egos so she could have sexual encounters with her 15 and 16-year-old victims

It was only when – in the guise of one of her fake identities Aaron Lampard – she was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and her clothes were removed in the cells that police discovered her true identity.

Gemma Barker’s two victims were completely taken in and had sexual encounters with the person they variously believed was Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack or Luke Jones.

The teenager now faces jail after admitting two counts of sexual assault and one of fraud by tricking the girls into relationships.

Prosecutors at Guildford Crown Court told how Gemma Barker reinforced her deception by setting up Facebook profiles for her different personas and even had individual dress styles for them.

She wore different hats, hoodies and other baggy clothing to mask her identity, walking and talking like a boy.

Judge Peter Moss told Gemma Barker he could not be sure whether she was “bad and dangerous to know or mad and dangerous to know”.

Gemma Barker’s disguise was so convincing that when one of the victims removed a sleeping “Connor’s” hat following a petting session, she was shocked to discover it was her best friend’s boyfriend “Aaron” she had been kissing.

Even at that point she did not realize the boy was actually a female friend.

When the net was closing in, Gemma Barker deliberately fractured her jaw and tried to blame her “Luke Jones” alter-ego for attacking her and forcing her to pose as “Aaron”.

She even tried to claim compensation for her injuries.

Prosecutor Ruby Selva told the court: “The defendant was 19 years old when she befriended her victims, who were 16 and 15 years old.

“Having befriended them she disguised herself as various 16-year-old boys for the sole purpose of having sexual relationships with them.

“Neither had any idea it was Gemma Barker – their friend.

“If either of them had known of the deceit, that the boy they were having a relationship with was Gemma Barker, they would not have consented to the acts.”

Gemma Barker struck up an online relationship with the older victim by inventing the fictitious character “Aaron Lampard”, and the pair became a “couple”.

The girl met “Aaron” in various parks and even took him home to her family, Ruby Selva said.

The prosecutor said the 16-year-old’s parents were taken in by the disguise, even though they had met Gemma Barker.

Ruby Selva added: “They (her parents) described never really seeing <<Aaron Lampard’s>> face because of the hat being pulled down so low or him averting his eyes from them.”

Gemma Barker engaged in “kissing, cuddling and groping” with the girl as Aaron Lampard before creating another boy persona and befriending a second victim.

It was through “Aaron Lampard” that the 16-year-old’s younger friend met “Connor McCormack”.

“Connor” had slightly different clothing but still concealed “himself” with a hoodie and baggy clothes when with the girl.

The younger victim began a relationship with “Connor McCormack”, despite having met both “Aaron Lampard” and the real Gemma Barker.

In May 2010 the bizarre story took a further twist when the second girl removed “Connor McCormack’s” hat and saw who she thought was “Aaron Lampard”.

Ruby Selva added: “As far as the second girl is concerned a third character – <<Luke Jones>> – was introduced, again via <<Aaron Lampard>> and <<Connor McCormack>>.

“She described on one occasion kissing him. She described similar clothing, a hat and a hoodie being up.”

After the alleged infidelity, the girls became suspicious and contacted police.

“Aaron Lampard” was arrested in June 2010 but it was only when he was searched that Barker’s identity was revealed.

Gemma Barker described herself as an “actress” on her Twitter feed.

The cross-dresser said of herself: “I love life and live to make people laugh. I try to be a best i can. Im an actress, loving my job. Never say Never !!!”

One Direction fan Gemma Barker repeatedly bombards the five members of the X-Factor band, which includes Harry Styles and Zane Malik, with tweets.

One message to Niall Horan read: “Please make my night and follow me xxx.”

Another to Zayn Malik said: “Miss you at the airport cos i’m ill 🙁 promise ill see you next time xxx.”

Gemma Barker also regularly tweeted the X Factor contestants during the ITV show and also posts about hanging around at Shepperton Studios.

Judge Peter Moss said her case involved “fairly lengthy and convoluted deception” of everybody around Gemma Barker.

He told her: “What concerns me is, however unusual it is, it has got a very mean, manipulative streak to it.”

Gemma Barker was bailed until sentencing on March 2.