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Seven individuals charged in connection with $3.5 million multi-state bank fraud conspiracy

Seven Others Charged in Separate Criminal Complaints Filed in Virginia and Maryland in Connection with Coordinated Investigation of Related Scheme

TRENTON, NJ – Seven people have been charged for their alleged roles in a large-scale conspiracy to commit bank fraud in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Michigan over the course of two years, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Monday.

The criminal complaint unsealed Monday in Trenton federal court charges seven people with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in connection with a fraudulent scheme that used hundreds of fraudulent accounts to defraud several major banks causing losses of over $3.5 million, Carpenito said.

Five of the people arrested Monday were made in coordination with two other federal investigations conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of Maryland, which led to the filing of separate criminal complaints, also unsealed today, that charged five defendants in the Eastern District of Virginia and two defendants in the District of Maryland, Carpenito said.

According to documents filed in the District of New Jersey and statements made in court, from 2018 through April 2020, the defendants conspired with each other and others to defraud several major banks and electronic merchant processors. To accomplish the conspiracy’s unlawful objective, the defendants established bank accounts associated with sham entities that had no legitimate purpose, and thereafter would issue checks payable to other sham entities associated with the criminal organization, knowing that the accounts on which the checks were drawn contained insufficient funds. The defendants would also conduct numerous fraudulent credit card and debit card transactions between shell companies to fraudulently credit payee accounts and fraudulently overdraw payor accounts. Alternatively, the defendants would use these shell companies to execute temporary refund credits, commonly referred to as “charge-backs,” to checking accounts associated with the criminal organization, where no prior legitimate transaction had occurred.

In each one of these instances, members of the criminal organization withdrew the funds (through ATMs or bank tellers) that banks and/or merchant processors had credited to the payee bank accounts at the time of the fraudulent transaction. Because the defendants withdrew the credited funds from the payee accounts before the banks could recognize the fraudulent transactions, the banks and merchant processors were left with substantial losses, according to documents filed in the District of New Jersey and statements made in court.

The investigation has identified approximately 200 bank accounts and 75 merchant credit card processing accounts used to facilitate the schemes. The defendants’ unlawful activities have caused an aggregate loss to banks and merchant processing companies of at least $3.5 million, according to documents filed in the District of New Jersey and statements made in court.

The bank fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million.

The seven charged in the New Jersey complaint are listed below:




*Rana Sharif


Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Awaise Dar


Dearborn, Michigan
*Shamsher Farooq


Dearborn, Michigan
Habib Majid


North Brunswick, New Jersey
Naveed Arif


Port Reading, New Jersey
Ali Abbas


Carteret, New Jersey
Erm Ayaz


Bayside, New York

*denotes at large

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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