DA Announces Bust of Brooklyn-Based Identity Theft, Check Forgery Ring

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    Authorities announced the bust of a Brooklyn-based identity theft ring that stole personal information of customers at various banks, using it to create and cash fake checks.

    In one case a bank worker was even involved in the scheme, according to the DA.

    Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said 28 people were indicted Wednesday in "Operation White Rover."

    The accused identity thieves, mostly in their early 20s and living in Brooklyn, stole personal information of customers at banks in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    The check cashers in the ring would travel to bank locations to cash the counterfeit checks, then turn the money over to the recruiters and managers of the ring, who traveled with them to the banks. The recruiter-managers would in turn pay the check cashers a percentage of the money.

    The forgery operation lasted from about August 2009 and April 2010.

    The indictment unsealed Wednesday charged 28 people with a total of 99 counts, including grand larceny, conspiracy, identity theft, criminal possession of a forged instrument and scheme to defraud.

    Two of the banks targeted in the ring lost more than $150,000, said Vance.

    The investigation was conducted by the DA's Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, the NYPD Special Frauds Squad, and the United State Service Credit Card Squad.

    Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Manhattan in the past five years, according to Vance.