Arrest of Chicago area businessman suggests large-scale International ID fraud ring

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTBy Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

5 December 2007: A founding board member of the Illinois Trade Council and a member of the advisory committee of the Illinois based All American Bank is currently being held on $3 million bond after police reportedly found numerous fake passports, fake state identification cards, fake social security cards, hundreds of credit cards, over $60,000 in cash and gold bars in his suburban Chicago home.

Mohammed Afzal SODAGAR, 51, 8616 Frontage Road, Morton Grove, IL, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan was arrested last weekend after police responded to a domestic complaint made by the suspect’s 22 year-old son, Saarum SODAGAR. According to police reports, the suspect’s son called police on Wednesday, November 28 during a heated argument where the elder SODAGAR allegedly threated to shoot his son. Upon searching the suspect’s residence, police found hundreds of credit cards, 11 Illinois identification cards with SODAGAR’S photograph but all under different aliases, at least 36 Social Security cards, numerous gold coins and bars, and more than $60,000 in cash. Police also found 12 different passports from Pakistan, Jamaica and the U.S., each with different names.

Mohammed Afzal SODAGAR
Police found the documents and cash after SODAGAR’S wife consented to a search of the residence for a weapon reportedly used to threaten the suspect’s son. Armed with a search warrant, authorities returned the following day to confiscate the documents and other evidence. Much of the evidence was found inside a briefcase in the bedroom of the suspect’s home.

Suspect’s residence
8616 Frontage Road, Morton Grove, IL
SODAGAR was charged with 22 counts of felony identity theft is facing charges that include identity theft, possession of phony ID and domestic battery.

Law enforcement sources close to the Cook County investigation told the Northeast Intelligence Network that the investigation is widening to an international level, and that “a number of other suspects associated with SODAGAR are under investigation, including his contacts in Pakistan.” This source added that the suspect is believed to have been active in identity theft for perhaps 30 years, adding that “it is likely that he has been operating internationally, sending money and passports to Pakistan.”

Investigative findings also found that SODAGAR is active in at least two Chicago area Muslim organizations, including the All State Memon Association-Chicago where he is reportedly the founder. He has also been a volunteer at the Morton Grove Muslim Community Center for the past 18 months, according to Yasir ALEEMUDDIN, director of the center. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, officials* stated that SODAGAR “has held no elected positions with the organization and has had no corporate responsibilities.” Research conducted by the Northeast Intelligence Network, however, found documentation identifying the suspect as the Chairperson, Media Relations and event coordinator for the M.E.C. Masjid expansion project.
Muslim Community Center
8601 Menard Ave., Morton Grove, IL
8601According to his Internet web site, SODAGAR claims to be the founder and head of Eye-TV and is active in the Muslim and business community in the greater Chicago area.

Investigation by the Northeast Intelligence Network is continuing.

*NOTE: This quote was originally attributed to Yasir ALEEMUDDIN, one of the directors of the Morton Grove Muslim Community Center. Mr. ALEEMUDDIN contacted this writer and denied making that quote. We have updated this article accordingly.