The mastermind of a carding gang in the US state of Georgia devised a novel way for weeding out undercover Feds from his operation — he forced members to have group sex, according to a local police detective who helped bust the ring.
Vikas Yadav, an Indian national who was deported in 2010, recruited other carders and mules through sado-masochism websites, forcing would-be accomplices to have group sex with other men and women while Yadav videotaped them, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
"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 flatscreen TV," Athens-Clarke police Detective Beverly Russell recently revealed to the paper.
Authorities say a TV in his upscale bedroom in Georgia was rigged to a pair of hard drives capable of holding 12 trillion bytes of memory.
Three of his main conspirators — Dashun McQuiller, Shaun Grittner and Dwight Riddick, a former New York City police officer — were sentenced in federal court this month.
Yadav's descent into crime had a steep fall. He initially came to the US to earn a master's degree at the University of Georgia's College of Pharmacy, which he did in 2004, but he was expelled from a doctoral program in 2005 after he was caught plagiarising.
He subsequently went to work at a liquor store, where his crime spree began. Authorities say he installed a recording device on the store's card reader to capture account numbers and PINs, and would then encode the information onto blank cards to withdraw cash from accounts or purchase flat-screen TVs and other big ticket items that were then re-sold for cash.
"He had dealers lined up who placed orders for specific items, like 50 to 60 flatscreen TVs of a certain size and brand," Russell told the paper. "It's not like he sent people randomly to go to the store. He had shopping lists with items already lined up to buy."
Yadav was arrested in August 2008 outside a Walmart in Mississippi, according to a court document, after the store manager called police about a suspicious transaction and provided the licence number of an Enterprise rental van. When police pulled the van over, they found a stack of credit and gift cards on the car's dashboard with Vadak's name on them and a duffel bag containing a laptop and accessories for encoding data onto blank cards. The van was filled with multiple televisions, Wii game consoles and other electronics.
Back in Georgia, authorities were aided in their investigation when a rental truck arrived at Yadav's home at the same time police were searching for the his address. The truck, driven by accomplice Riddick, was crammed with newly purchased TVs.
The Athens paper describes Yadav's crime ring as a multi-million-dollar operation, but it appears he was never charged with most of his crimes. Court records show proceedings for him only on a limited number of charges in Mississippi, with losses amounting to only about $US30,000. The documents don't mention Yadav's bizarre work requirement for accomplices, but according to the Athens paper, Detective Russell learned about it from Yadav's accomplices.
Threat Level could not reach Detective Russell for comment.
Riddick pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen property and was sentenced two years of probation. McQuiller and Grittner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, and were sentenced to 30 months and 10 months in prison, respectively.
Yadav pleaded guilty in Mississippi to access device fraud and was sentenced to one year in prison. According to the Athens paper, he was deported.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired.com