As I previously reported here on The Insite – the man accused of bilking Insite Street Team Member Torrey Walker out of lots of money has plead guilty and is headed to federal prison. The details of what happened to Walker and other Houstonians is detailed below from The US Attorney’s Office. The Insite has also obtained a picture of the guilty party:
Syed Mohsin Abbas, 37, a Pakistani national residing in Houston, has been convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud through the use of ATM machines and gift cards to withdraw money from Washington Mutual bank customer accounts, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced today.
Abbas pleaded guilty to the federal felony count today at a hearing before United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas and admitted that in August 2003, he and a co-defendant, Badruddin Sultan Badarpura, stole almost $9,000 from Washington Mutual Bank customer accounts using Toys R Us gift cards on which the accounts numbers of the bank customer had been encoded. Badarpura and Abbas had a list of the personal identification numbers tied to the customer accounts.
In August 2003, while Badarpura was withdrawing money in a series of transactions from the automatic teller machine (ATM) at a Houston area branch of the Washinton Mutual Bank, Abbas sat in the passenger seat of their car handing Badarpura Toy R Us gift cards on which Washington Mutual customer account numbers had been imprinted and providing the personal identification number tied to the account. Badarpura and Abbas were arrested near the ATM after Secret Service agents observed the two engaged in this seemingly unusual conduct, and thereafter found they had been stealing money from the accounts of others.
Agents searched the car and found $8,960 in neatly stacked twenty dollar bills and 79 Toys R Us gift cards encoded with the account numbers of Washington Mutual customers, along with a piece of notebook paper which contained the account number and personal identification number (PIN) that corresponded to the account numbers on the gift cards. The $8,960 in twenty dollar bills found in the vehicle had been withdrawn from the Washington Mutual Bank accounts whose numbers were represented on the Toys R Us gift cards.
Abbas fled the country to avoid prosecution in November 2003 and was extradited from the United Kingdom in early 2007. He has been in federal custody since his return and will remain in federal custody pending his sentencing on July 5, 2007. Abbas faces up to five (5) years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Co-defendant Badruddin Badarpura has been convicted of the same federal felony charge and was sentenced in January 2005 to serve 30 months in federal prison without parole.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by special agents from the United States Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Hileman.