The Queens DA's office just announced (PDF) that 111 people have been "indicted in the largest identity theft takedown in U.S. history." The scheme spanned from Queens to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and it's believed the losses total more than $13 million over 16 months.
According to WCBS 2, "In addition to having the material to make the phony cards, [the defendants] often utilized bank employees to identify high-end clients. They’d also give retail store employees skimmers to steal information off a customer’s card." Armed with the fake cards, they would starting shopping, stay at five-star hotels, rent luxury cars and private jets, and bought "tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end electronics and expensive handbags and jewelry with forged credit cards."
Queens DA Richard Brown detailed the elaborate plan, which involved numerous groups—"bosses," "shopping crews," "bust out crews," "fences"—to set all this in motion. Also, many of the defendants are also involved in local robberies: "For example, four defendants are charged with conspiring to commit a bank robbery in Forest Hills. Five are charged with stealing more than $95,000 worth of cargo from Kennedy Airport and seven are accused of stealing approximately $850,000 worth of computer equipment from the Citigroup Building in Long Island City." A.B.C.—Always Be Criming!