Just when we thought they’d never find a way to make credit cards sexy, a ring of credit card scammers went and proved us horribly, horribly wrong. According to the Athens Banner-Herald, ringleader Vikas Yadav had some very specific requirements for entry into his card cloning scheme. If you’re reading this on your lunch break, we suggest you finish eating before reading on.
Yadav, an Indian citizen, came to the U.S. in 2004 to study pharmacology at the University of Georgia. Shortly after his arrival, he was expelled from his doctoral program for plagiarizing. Short on cash, he got a job at a local liquor store and began stealing credit card numbers. Yadav installed a keylogger on the store’s register to record customer card numbers and PINS. He encoded the stolen information on blank credit cards, which he and his two main accomplices used to buy large amounts of merchandise from various dealers. They would warehouse the merchandise at Yadav’s luxurious home and then resell it online in order to maintain the appearance of a legitimate business.
Things were going smoothly for a while and with business booming Yadav realized he needed more accomplices to assist in the scheme. Since he couldn’t go and advertise in the local classifieds, he went looking in a very peculiar place – S&M chat rooms.
Yadav had a thing for porn. He liked it so much that he kept two external hard drives loaded with 13 trillion bytes of it attached to his TV at all times. So when it came time to recruit new members into his gang, he figured he would look for people with similar interests. The only problem was that cops tended to patrol sex chat rooms, and Yadav had to figure out a way to weed out any undercover officers that might be looking to get in on the action. After a few days of “hard” thinking, he devised what he considered a brilliant method of screening new applicants – he would have sex with them.
According to Detective Beverly Russell, the officer in charge of the investigation that led to Yadav’s arrest, “Anyone who wanted in with [Yadav] would have to have three-way sex, either with other men or women, but Vikas had to be involved and he would record it all and save the recordings so he could watch it on his big flat-screen TV.”
It seemed like a sound enough idea. If you tried to snitch on the scheme, a recording of you having group sex with a flabby Indian man would go live on the Internet. Unfortunately, Yadav didn’t have enough foresight to start swinging with the neighbors as well. After watching a bevy of HDTV-laden trucks and luxury vehicles visit Yadav’s house, the couple next door became suspicious and called the police. In 2008, Yadav was finally arrested for using a stolen credit card at a Walmart, and in 2010 he was deported back to India.
While Yadav’s operation wasn’t the most successful credit card cloning ring in the world, his “rewards program” will certainly go down in history as a part of one of the most bizarre cases of credit card fraud to ever make headlines.