100 Charged in
Operation Swiper - Massive NYC Identity Theft Ring
November 03, 2011
in New York say 111 people from five criminal enterprises have been
indicted in a scheme described as the largest identity theft case in
The District Attorney's office in Queens issued a statement Friday,
saying the scheme involved five criminal enterprises based in the area
and having ties to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Eighty-six
people have been arrested, while the others are being sought in the
investigation, dubbed "Operation Swiper."
Officials say 10
indictments charge the suspects with stealing the personal credit card
information of thousands of unwitting American and European consumers.
Authorities say the scheme cost individuals, financial institutions and
retail businesses more than $13 million in losses over a 16-month
Investigators allege that many of the suspects used forged credit cards
to go on nationwide shopping sprees or stay at five-star hotels.
Authorities say the defendants rented luxury automobiles and private
jets and purchased high-end electronics as well as expensive handbags
Additionally, some of the defendants involved in the identity theft
operation are accused of taking part in burglaries and robberies
throughout Queens County.
is alleged that people who worked in restaurants or bars, retail stores
or financial institutions would steal credit card numbers by using a
skimming device to steal customers' credit card information when the
card was swiped for payment. The data was then programmed into the
magnetic strips of blank cards. In some cases, artwork from financial
institutions would be placed on the blank cards. The stolen data,
officials say, was also used to make identification cards to match the
name on the forged card.
Investigators say authorities searched several homes and seized items
such as computers, electronics, weapons, as well as $650,000 in cash.
They also say the probe involved court-appointed eavesdropping on
different telephones and that detectives with language skills spent
hours translating conversations from languages such as Russian, Mandarin