Some 24 people are currently facing white collar charges that carry the potential of decades of prison time, including second degree grand larceny and possession of forged instruments. The charges stem from the activities of an alleged credit card theft ring, in which thousands of credit card numbers and their related details were stolen from individuals across the country.
Prosecutors believe that the credit card information was used to create counterfeit credit cards, which were subsequently used to purchase and resell over one million dollars worth of electronics, such as iPods and MacBooks. The electronics were purchased in cities across the country.
The individual currently being investigated as the head of the credit card fraud ring apparently used an e-mail account to manage the stolen credit card data, and continued to lead the operation by phone from his jail cell after being incarcerated in May. The woman who allegedly received his instructions for continuing the operation is facing charges as well.
A younger individual, who has been described by his lawyer as a "fundamentally decent young man," is also being charged. The man in question was caught on security footage accepting large quantities of apparently stolen items, mostly consisting of electronics. Assistant district attorney Elizabeth Roper alleges that the young man had moved hundreds of thousands of dollars into and out of his banking accounts.
The Cybercrimes Unit of the Manhattan district attorney's office and the U.S. Secret Service are responsible for the investigation of the supposed credit card fraud ring. As is the case in many investigations involving an alleged conspiracy, the authorities appear to be casting a wide net and charging individuals who are both directly and indirectly involved.
Source: The New York Times, "About Two Dozen Arraigned in Credit Card Fraud Scheme," John Eligon, 2/1/2011