Carmel man indicted for using PayPal and eBay to gain $2 million by fraud

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A Carmel man was indicted for stealing credit card and personal information to sell electronics and other merchandise online to gain $2 million, an attorney announced today.

United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today, Tuong Quoc Ho, 32, of Carmel, was indicted by a federal grand jury for a scheme to defraud businesses, consumers, suppliers, financial institutions, credit card holders, credit card companies and identity theft victims for personal monetary gain.

The indictment contains 28 federal offenses including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, credit card fraud, money laundering, and other federal offenses. An indictment is a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.

“Fraud cannot and will not be tolerated at any cost, especially when it involves identity theft,” Minkler stated. “This can devastate people’s credit, which often times takes them years to repair. This office is committed to prosecuting such crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”

According to court documents, Ho and others overseas allegedly obtained personal information online from hundreds of people worldwide. He allegedly used this information to fraudulently open PayPal and eBay accounts, linking his personal bank accounts to them to receive and transfer money. There were over 500 PayPal accounts linked to Ho’s personal bank accounts, according to the United States Dept. of Justice.

The indictment alleges Ho and others used the accounts to advertise and sell a variety of items that were purchased with stolen credit card information.

The indictment further alleges Ho used the personal information he obtained to generate and submit to PayPal fraudulent documents under the names of others, including identification documents (driver’s licenses, passports, social security cards), proof of address documents (utility bills, bank statements), and proof of sales documents (invoices, receipts) to mislead the company.

Finally, the indictment alleges that over $2 million flowed through the PayPal accounts. Ho wired money to family and friends in Vietnam, and used the money for personal expenses, including the purchase of his home in Carmel, according to the Dept. of Justice.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Carmel Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

“These charges are the result of a complex international investigation conducted jointly by FBI Indianapolis’ Cyber Intrusion Program and the Carmel Police Department working in partnership to put an end to Mr. Ho’s illegal activity that targeted hundreds of victims,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall said.

“This case began in October of 2018,” Carmel Police Dept. Maj. Charlie Harting stated. “Dedicated detectives and special agents from the Carmel Police Dept. and the FBI collaborated together to put the pieces of the investigative puzzle together that touched points on the other side of the world. The hard work of the detectives, special agents, and U.S. Attorney’s office is a great example of local and federal partnership working together for the good of our community and the country.”

 “Postal Inspectors investigate any fraud in which the U.S. Mail is used, even if the scheme originally started over the phone or through the Internet.” Inspector-in-Charge Ed Gallashaw, USPIS Indianapolis, stated. “Being the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service, the Postal Inspection Service works with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to enforce fraud statutes to the maximum extent possible against those who seek to separate postal customers from their money. The indictment secured in this investigation is a perfect demonstration of how that team work helps us protect our customers and safeguard our communities.”

According to Assistant United States Attorneys MaryAnn T. Mindrum and James M. Warden, who are prosecuting this case for the government, the defendant faces up to 20 years of imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000.


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