Queens-Based Identity Theft And Counterfeit
Credit Card Operation Dismantled
A forged credit card and identity theft ring based in Queens and with roots in the Far East has been successfully dismantled following the indictment this week of 38 individuals, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, announced on Thursday, March 6.
The ring was allegedly responsible for stealing the personal credit information of scores of American consumers and costing these individuals, financial institutions and retail businesses more than $1 million in losses over the past year.
“Many of the defendants charged today are accused of going on nationwide shopping sprees, purchasing tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end electronics, handbags and jewelry with forged credit cards that contained the account information of unsuspecting consumers,” Brown said. “Particularly disturbing is the fact that, in a number of cases, the defendants are charged with using bogus documents to purchase airline tickets and then using those documents as identification to board commercial aircraft. In the hands of terrorists such documents could have easily undermined the efforts of homeland security and other law enforcement officials intent on keeping our borders and citizens safe. Such a serious threat to public safety cannot go unchallenged. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement colleagues to stamp out such fraud and help to maintain our nation’s safety and security.
“This case provides another warning to the public that they must be diligent in the protection of their personal identifying information. Identity fraud and identity theft are two of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, afflicting millions of victims and costing billions of dollars in losses to consumers, businesses and financial institutions. Even after the culprits are caught and prosecuted, their victims are still faced with the difficult task of having to repair their credit ratings and financial reputations. In some cases, that process can take years.”
Police Commissioner Kelly said, “This industrious New York-based ring utilized international and domestic resources to orchestrate their crimes from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeastern U.S., but the NYPD Organized Theft and Identity Theft Task Force worked harder, with a committed team of investigators and foreign-language translators who tirelessly pursued these suspects to stop their widespread use of innocent people’s good credit. They and the members of the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau are to be commended.”