111 People Busted in Giant Queens-Based Identity-Theft Ring

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The NYPD and Queens D.A. announced this afternoon that they've broken open "by far the largest — and certainly among the most sophisticated — identity theft/credit card fraud cases that law enforcement has come across," charging 111 people in ten indictments. The local scam is thought to have touched Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, costing consumers some $13 million. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the scammers "victimized thousands of Americans, including innocent New Yorkers. They produced reams of fake credit cards." As if that wasn't bad enough, Kelly said the thieves posted photos of the spoils on social networks.

The New York Post reports:


Once the counterfeit cards were created, according to the indictments, they were ultimately given to teams of “shoppers” who were sent out on shopping expeditions in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Los Angeles and other parts of the US to buy designer handbags, video game consoles and jewelry.

The types of goods purchased included iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, Rolex watches, Macbook Pro, Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags from Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

It is alleged that during the shopping sprees, some of the people used forged credit cards to stay at such five-star hotels as the Fontainbleau and The Royal Palm in Miami Beach and the Las Casitas Village, the high-end private villas of the El Conquistor in Puerto Rico.

The defendants got around in Lamborghinis and Porsches, and even a private jet. "They weren't holdups at gunpoint, but the impact on victims was the same. They were robbed," said Kelly.

No, none of the above is about Wall Street, but we can see why you might've been confused.

Biggest ID scam in US history results in 111 arrests [NYP]