A 28-year-old credit card racketeer, wanted by Interpol, was arrested by the bank fraud wing of the city police at his hideout in Ramapuram on Friday.
The police recovered a cache of credit and debit card data of international customers, which the suspect had fraudulently obtained.
According to sources with the Central Crime Branch (CCB), the suspect, Jeyatharan Thambapillai, who hails from Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, was convicted by the Sri Lankan police for credit card frauds committed in 2011. However, he fled jail and managed to leave the country in August 2013.
After reaching Chennai he rented a house in Venkateswaran Colony, Ramapuram, along with his accomplices, including another Sri Lankan national, Prem alias Selvanesan, who was arrested last week for theft of credit card data and siphoning over Rs. 25 lakh.
A team led by assistant commissioner C. Jayasingh, who interrogated Prem, inspected Jeyatharan’s hideouts in Bangalore and Mysore and finally landed at the house in Ramapuram.
“The team stormed the house to find three Sri Lankan nationals, including Jeyatharan and his aides Pradeep Kumar (36) and Navaneetharaja (37). All three were arrested. An electronic data capture machine, three laptops, 14 credit cards with stolen data of international customers, five cellphones and cash were seized,” deputy commissioner (CCB) S. Jeyakumar said.
The police said, Pradeep had slipped out of the Dindigul refugee camp recently, to receive training from Jeyatharan in carrying out credit card fraud, while Navaneetharaja arranged accommodation for the suspects.
Investigations revealed that Jeyatharan, a diploma holder in civil engineering, has links with international bank data theft gangs and had illegally procured over 200 sets of bankcard data of customers in U.S., Canada, U.K. and the rest of Europe.
“Jeyatharan is known to have paid amounts between $3 and $350 for each set of international card data, depending on the credit limit and difficulty in obtaining the PIN,” Mr. Jayasingh said.
Jeyatharan cloned international credit cards and made purchases as well as ATM withdrawals. The gang has been operating in Chennai from mid-2013 and siphoned over Rs. 3 lakh. Further investigations are under way.