On June 28, 2017, Muhammad Sohail Qasmani was sentenced to 48 months in prison in connection with a scheme to launder more than $19.6 million as part of a global computer hacking and telecommunications fraud scheme.  According to the documents filed in this and related cases, Noor Aziz of Karachi, Pakistan, allegedly led a scheme to  access without authorization the computer systems that ran the internal telephone networks of numerous businesses and organizations in the United States.  In order to identify unused telephone extensions of victim corporations, foreign-based hackers placed calls to the victim corporations’ telephone systems.  After identifying unused extensions, the hackers illegally reprogrammed the telephone systems to make unlimited long distance calls, which were ultimately charged back to the victim corporations.  The hacked telephone systems were then used to make calls to premium telephone numbers (for example, psychic hotlines) that were set up by Aziz and that charged the caller based on the call’s duration.  In 2008, Qasmani operated a money laundering and smuggling business in Thailand.  Qasmani agreed to launder proceeds of the scheme for Aziz.  In furtherance of the scheme, Qasmani opened bank accounts, designed to receive money generated by the illegal scheme and to pay the hackers and dialers who worked for Aziz.  Over nearly four years, Qasmani initiated money transfers to approximately 650 unique transferees, located in at least 10 countries, including the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Italy.  Qasmani received and transferred approximately $19.6 million in fraud proceeds from November 2008 through Dec. 31, 2012.  In connection with the scheme, Qasmani pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition to the prison term, Qasmani must forfeit $25,000 and pay $71,761,956.34 in restitution.  United States v. Qasmani, 2:16-CR-00052 (D.N.J.).

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