Seven charged in identity theft, credit card fraud ring

Seven people have been arrested and charged with being responsible for numerous instances of identity theft and credit card fraud that together generated more than half a million dollars in illegally obtained cash and merchandise from retailers across Central and Northern New Jersey during recent months, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Westfield Police Chief David Wayman jointly announced Friday.

Harpreet Singh, 35, of Iselin, Vidhi Vohra, 26, of Avenel, and Kunal Vohra, 23, of Avenel all are charged with two counts of second-degree theft in the case. Jaswinder Singh, 53, of Colonia, Saeed Choudry, 52, and Anjum Sabar, 34, both of Queens, N.Y., all are charged with second-degree possession of identifying documents to facilitate fraud, while Saquib Khan, 29, of Parlin is charged with two counts of third-degree receiving stolen property.

The charges resulted from a three-week investigation involving the Westfield Police Department Detective Bureau, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit, with the initial instances of alleged fraud having been uncovered at the Lord & Taylor in downtown Westfield.

The investigation revealed that, through a variety of means, the defendants obtained multiple forms of government-issued identifying documents from people with dual Indian and U.S. citizenship during a period extending from August 2014 through April 2015, according to Special Prosecutions Unit Supervisor John Esmerado, who is prosecuting the case. Harpreet Singh, Vidhi Vohra, and Kunal Vohra then allegedly used these documents to obtain fraudulent driver’s licenses, which they would in turn use to fraudulently obtain credit cards and gift cards from a variety of department and chain stores, Esmerado said.

Using the credit cards and gift cards as payment, the defendants made numerous purchases of merchandise, including power tools, high-end jewelry, TAG Heuer watches, iPhones, Beats by Dre headphones, and cases of expensive spirits such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label scotch, according to the investigation. Harpreet Singh also allegedly sold the merchandise and the credit cards and gift cards to generate cash.

As a result of the investigation, approximately $540,000 in cash was frozen and more than $75,000 in merchandise and more than 250 driver’s licenses and credit cards were recovered from various properties owned and rented by the defendants.

Convictions on second-degree charges typically carry penalties of five to 10 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.