KEW GARDENS — An identity theft and counterfeit credit card ring that ripped off scores of consumers, stores and banks has been busted, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The 13-person ring, which operated in Elmont, Queens Village, Jamaica, Hollis, Rockaway Beach and Brooklyn, stole bank account information and used it to create bogus credit cards and go on nationwide shopping sprees.
"Credit card fraud and identity theft continue to flourish as more and more financial transactions occur over the Internet," Brown said in a statement.
"These crimes costs millions of dollars in losses to consumers, businesses and financial institutions and will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted."
Officials said that the ring operated between June 2011 and March 2012. The counterfeiters allegedly used various methods to obtain credit card account numbers, which they then used to create fake credit cards and ID cards.
Once the cards were created, officials said they were used in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida and Pennsylvania. Officials said that Best Buy, Home Depot, Walgreens and Sephora were among the stores targeted.
Officials learned about the ring after last October's "Operation Swiper" bust, in which 111 people were arrested and indicted for credit card and ID fraud, the biggest identity theft sting U.S. history.