Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Credit card con artists steal over $200 million: 18 arrested

18 credit card con artists used at least 7,000 fake identities to obtain more than 25,000 credit cards, scamming at least $200 million, say authorities.

By Katie ZezimaAssociated Press / February 5, 2013

FBI agents enter Raja Jewelers at 820 Newark Avenue in Jersey City on Feb. 5, investigating an international credit card fraud ring that may have a connection to these New Jersey jewelry stores.

Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal/AP

Enlarge

Newark, N.J.

Eighteen people have been charged in what may be one of the nation's largest credit card fraud rings, a sprawling international scam that duped credit rating agencies and used thousands of fake identities to steal at least $200 million, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Skip to next paragraph

The elaborate scheme involved improving fake cardholders' credit scores, allowing the scammers to borrow more money that they never repaid, investigators said.

"The accused availed themselves of a virtual cafeteria of sophisticated frauds and schemes, whose main menu items were greed and deceit," said David Velazquez, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Newark field office.

The U.S. attorney in Newark, Paul Fishman, described an intricate Jersey City-based con that began in 2007, operated in at least 28 states and wired money to Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Romania, China and Japan.

The group used at least 7,000 fake identities to obtain more than 25,000 credit cards, Fishman said. Investigators documented $200 million in losses, but the figure could rise, he said.

"Through their greed and arrogance," Fishman said, the people arrested harm credit card companies, consumers and "the rest of us who have to deal with increased interest rates and fees because of the money sucked out of the system by criminals."

Participants in the scam set up more than 1,800 mailing addresses, creating fake utility bills and other documents to provide credit card companies with what appeared to be legitimate addresses, investigators said. Once they obtained the cards, they started making small charges and paying off the cards to raise their credit limits, authorities said.

They then sent fake reports to credit rating agencies, making it appear that cardholders had paid off debts, setting the stage for sterling credit ratings and high credit limits, investigators said.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!