On May 15, authorities caught and arrested seven people charged with running a credit card fraud and identity theft ring responsible for over $500,000 worth of stolen cash and merchandise from stores across the central and northern part of New Jersey.
The group of seven South Asian-origin individuals, including Indian Americans, were arrested and charged two counts of second-degree theft, second-degree possession of identifying documents to facilitate fraud and two counts of third-degree receiving stolen property combined throughout the ring's members.
Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park said that the group, between August 2014 and April 2015, obtained various types of government issued identification documents from people with dual Indian and U.S. citizenship. They then allegedly used these documents to obtain fraudulent driver's licenses, which then allowed them to get fraudulent credit cards and gift cards from department and chain stores.
They used the various fraudulent cards to make expensive purchases, like jewelry, power tools, watches, cell phones, designer headphones and cases of high end liquor. The merchandise, along with the credit cards and gift cards were also sold for cash.
The group's activity was first discovered at a Lord and Taylor outlet store in Westfield. In total, the investigation reported that approximately $540,000 in cash, more than $75,000 in merchandise and 250 driver's licenses and credit cards were recovered from the defendant's properties upon arrest.
The group was arrested after a three-week investigation by Westfield, New Jersey police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Special Prosecutions Unit for the New Jersey Union County Prosecutor's Office.
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