Consumer Payment Card News

Lebanese Credit Card Scam

Two Lebanese nationals were indicted today on federal charges relating to a credit card scheme.

United States Attorney Donald K. Stern announced today that ABDO KOUBA, 37, of 7 Montvale Street, Roslindale, Massachusetts, and ILHAM EL KOUBA, 26, formerly of 7 Montvale Street, Roslindale, Massachusetts, were charged with conspiracy, deceptive use of a Social Security number, and credit card fraud. ABDO KOUBA was also charged with credit application fraud.

According to the indictment, ABDO and ILHAM EL KOUBA, brother and sister, planned an elaborate scheme to defraud banks and credit card companies by applying for and obtaining numerous credit cards and credit lines in their own names and the names of family members who are in Lebanon. One object of the scheme was to purchase used cars, on credit, for shipment to Lebanon. Once the credit card and credit line limits were reached, the KOUBAs would return to Lebanon, leaving the debt behind. In applying for numerous credit cards in the name of “Rita Kouba,” the defendants used a Social Security number which was not assigned to her. The credit card applications contained numerous other falsehoods, including the applicants’ residence and their source and amount of income.

According to the indictment, by March 31, 1997, the KOUBAs had amassed an outstanding credit balance on some 49 credit cards totaling over $200,000. They also owed Bank of Boston almost $75,000 on personal, unsecured credit lines. Between November 1996 and March 1997, the KOUBAs purchased and shipped 29 used cars. In early March, ILHAM KOUBA, who had been employed as a manicurist/esthetician in Roslindale, left the United States to return to Lebanon.

The maximum penalty for each of the offenses charging conspiracy and deceptive use of a Social Security number is a 5 year term of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The credit card fraud statute carries a maximum penalty of a 10 year term of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. ABDO KOUBA faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000 on the credit application fraud counts.

ABDO KOUBA was arrested in connection with a federal complaint on March 22, 1997, and has been in custody since that date.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Social Security Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Jeanne M. Kempthorne, Deputy Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit of Stern’s Office.

Leave A Reply