“Operation Plastic Pipe Line” nabs 45 in massive international ring

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today that an international forged credit card and identity theft ring based in the New York metropolitan area has been successfully dismantled following the indictment this week of forty-five individuals. The ring – which was comprised of three separate identity theft and forged credit card groups that employed multiple cells – had its roots in Nigeria and is alleged to have been responsible for stealing the credit cards and personal credit information of thousands of North American consumers, costing these individuals, as well as financial institutions and retail businesses, more than $12 million in losses over the past year alone.

The defendants have been charged in a series of indictments charging 784 pattern acts with, among other crimes, Enterprise Corruption under New York State’s Organized Crime Control Act. They are accused of being members and associates of three organized criminal enterprises that operated in Queens County and elsewhere and that, between April 18, 2008, and April 23, 2009, systematically schemed to defraud thousands of unsuspecting consumers and financial institutions – such as Citibank, Bank of America, Chase and HSBC and a series of Canadian banks – including President’s Choice Bank, CIBC, MBNA Canada and Bank of Montreal.

“Operation Plastic Pipe Line” began in September 2007 when police officers assigned to the Police Department’s Identity Theft Squad commenced a joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau into the large scale theft of Citibank credit cards and the subsequent use of the credit cards in Queens County and elsewhere.

The full press release can be found here (pdf)

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