A Carmel man has been indicted on 28 federal offenses including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, credit card fraud and money laundering related to fraudulent PayPal and eBay accounts, Southern Indiana District U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler announced Friday.
Tuong Quoc Ho, 32, conducted “an elaborate scheme to defraud businesses, consumers, suppliers, financial institutions, credit card holders, credit card companies, and identity theft victims for personal monetary gain,” Minkler’s office said in a statement.
Ho gained about $2 million through the fraud, which he wired to family and friends in Vietnam and used to help pay for his Carmel home, the indictment alleges.
Officials said Ho, who has been under investigation since October 2018, faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The investigation culminated Thursday with a raid by the FBI and Carmel police on Ho’s home near 116th and Towne Road.
Investigators say Ho, who also used the name Robert Parker and Hoquoctuong, was a dual citizen of the United States and Vietnam.
From about 2013 through August 2019, Ho and others working overseas allegedly obtained personal information from the internet of hundreds of persons located throughout the United States and worldwide, the indictment says.
Investigators say he used the information to fraudulently open PayPal and eBay accounts. He would then link his personal bank accounts to the PayPal accounts to receive and transfer money. More than 500 PayPal accounts were linked to Ho’s personal bank accounts.
The indictment also alleges Ho and others used the eBay accounts to sell a variety of items that were purchased with stolen credit card information from thousands of individuals.
Ho also is accused of using the personal information he obtained to generate and submit to PayPal fraudulent documents in the names of 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).
The documents were used 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.
“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,” special agent in charge Grant Mendenhall, FBI Indianapolis, said in a Friday news release.