Two Queens Men Plead Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Conspiracy

Date: 
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York:

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Abed Ahmad and his brother Alaa Ahmad, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano to bank fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit aggravated identity theft relating to a scheme to defraud JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its customers.  Abed Ahmad also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft. 
 
Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), John Grasso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, New York Field Office (SSA-OIG), and Cyrus Vance, District Attorney, New York County District Attorney’s Office, announced the guilty pleas.
 
“The defendants abused their positions of trust at JP Morgan Chase in furtherance of a sordid scheme to steal the identities of elderly and deceased customers in order to misappropriate millions in funds from their accounts,” stated Acting United States Attorney Lesko.  “This Office and its law enforcement partners will spare no effort in holding the defendants to account for their brazen fraud.”  Mr. Lesko expressed his grateful appreciation to the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Bureau, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, for their work on the case.
 
“Out of sheer greed, the defendants abused their positions to steal from arguably the most vulnerable of banking customers,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen.   “Their admissions today will hopefully provide some measure of closure to all of those impacted by their crimes and put them on a path to full restoration.”  
 
“This $7 million fraud scheme was perpetrated by bank employees that misused their access to sensitive information to victimize the bank and its customers. Today’s guilty pleas highlight that HSI and our law enforcement partners will continue to use every available resource to bring those who prey on innocent victims to justice,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Fitzhugh.
 
“These guilty pleas are the result of a true collaborative effort between Federal and local agencies to identify this massive fraud and hold accountable those who abused their authority for personal gain. These individuals stole these funds not only from private citizens and financial institutions, but also from the Social Security Administration,” stated SSA-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Grasso. “I want to recognize our law enforcement partners, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office, for their efforts leading to today’s announcement.”
 
“These guilty pleas put high-tech cyber thieves on notice: the Manhattan D.A.’s Office has built the expertise, resources, and seamlessly collaborative partnerships to find you, hold you accountable, and secure justice for your victims,” stated District Attorney Vance.  “I thank Acting U.S. Attorney Lesko and my Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau for their exceptional collaboration as we continue working together to protect our residents and markets from increasingly sophisticated, large-scale frauds. I also commend my Office’s Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations Bureau; the NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force, Cybercrime and Identity Theft Task Force, and Intelligence Bureau; and our federal partners at IRS and HSI for this expert, joint investigation, as well as the Veterans Affairs OIG and Social Security Administration OIG for their important work.”
 
As set forth in court filings and today’s proceedings, between approximately 2012 and 2017, Abed and Alaa Ahmad, both of whom worked at branches of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Queens, used their positions at the bank to target high-dollar value customer accounts of elderly or deceased individuals that had been dormant for a period of time. After identifying these accounts, Abed and Alaa Ahmad passed the account information, as well as the personal identifying information of the account holders, to another co-conspirator, Moustafa Ayoub.  Ayoub used the account information to transfer nearly $7 million of victim funds from the JPMorgan Chase accounts to other financial accounts controlled by Ayoub. 
 
Ayoub previously pleaded guilty in January 2021 before Judge Vitaliano to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit aggravated identity theft and aggravated identity theft.  He is awaiting sentencing.
 
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section, with the assistance of the New York County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Josh Hafetz, Jonathan E. Algor and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth F. Potashnick are in charge of the prosecution.