Carmel man indicted in alleged $2 million eBay, PayPal fraud scheme

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Photo from the scene of the FBI search warrant execution on Thursday

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A Carmel man is facing charges after federal authorities say he tried to gain $2 million from PayPal and eBay through fraud.

The news comes after the FBI served a search warrant at a home in Carmel on Thursday. At the time, authorities didn’t release any details about the investigation.

On Friday, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuong Quoc Ho, 32, of Carmel, was indicted for “an elaborate scheme to defraud businesses, consumers, suppliers, financial institutions, credit card holders, credit card companies, and identity theft victims for personal monetary gain,” according to the DOJ.

He was indicted on 28 federal charges including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, credit card fraud and money laundering.

Here’s how federal officials say the alleged scheme worked, as laid out in court documents:

Ho and other people overseas obtained personal information of hundreds of people in the U.S. and elsewhere from the internet. This information was then used to fraudulently open PayPal and eBay accounts.

He would link his personal bank accounts to these fraudulent accounts to receive and transfer money. The DOJ says Ho had more than 500 PayPal accounts linked to his bank accounts.

“Ho used the personal information he obtained of others to generate and submit to PayPal fraudulent documents in the names of those other persons, 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). This was intended to mislead PayPal about the identity of the person who opened and maintain the accounts, as well as the true source of the items being sold on eBay,” the Department of Justice said in a release.

Proceeds from the eBay accounts, totaling more than $2 million, flowed through the PayPal accounts. Authorities say some money was sent to family and friends in Vietnam. The rest was allegedly used for personal expenses, including the purchase of the home in Carmel on Mansfield Place.

These photos were taken Thursday when the FBI served a search warrant at the home:

“Fraud cannot and will not be tolerated at any cost, especially when it involves identity theft,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. “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. Today Mr. Ho’s streak of fraud and identity theft comes to an end.”

“This case began in October of 2018,” said Carmel Police Department Major Charlie Harting. “Dedicated detectives and special agents from the Carmel Police Department 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.”

Ho faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. A booking photo was not provided.

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