MANHATTAN (CN) - The ringleader of a $24 million fraud that ripped off more than 50 financial institutions was sentenced Monday to 14 years in federal prison. Tahir Ali Khan and 14 other co-defendants were charged with running a scam using fake identification documents to establish credit for sham companies they owned. In sentencing Khan, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said he had been involved in "a vast array of crimes, of frauds and thefts, extending well over a decade."
Judge Preska added that Khan committed these crimes while a fugitive from justice. He had been arrested in California in 1995 under the name Jonathan Branscum, but fled to New York while out on bail.
Judge Preska said that Khan gained entry to the United States by identity theft. He stole the identity of Waheed Khan, a real person, to get a permanent resident card and other immigration benefits.
Khan had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors said Khan headed a ring that produced false identification documents and fictitious names, purporting to have been issued by state and federal governments, in order to build financial credit for the fictitious companies they owned.
Khan and his ring fraudulently established bank accounts, credit card accounts, apartment leases and telephone and utility accounts. They applied for and received lucrative bank loans, home mortgage loans, lines of credit and other financial benefits.
Then they defaulted on the loans and credit card debt, costing millions of dollars of losses for numerous financial institutions.
In addition to prison, Khan was sentenced to 3 years supervised release, forfeiture of items seized from his homes, and restitution of more than $24 million.
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