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7-3-2008

New York City prosecutors announced on Thursday that 38 people had been indicted as part of a crackdown on a large identity-theft and counterfeit credit-card ring that operated in several parts of the United States as well as China and the Far East.

The investigation into the alleged counterfeiting ring, dubbed “House of Cards,” found that suppliers in China sent fraudulently obtained credit- and debit-card numbers to the defendants, who then manufactured counterfeit cards and identification, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement (pdf) released Thursday. The indicted individuals allegedly had different roles and responsibilities in the ring, including the “production crews” responsible for making the cards, the “shopping crews” that used the cards, and the fences who resold the fraudulently obtained goods.

“This case provides another warning to the public that they must be diligent in the protection of their personal identifying information,” Brown said in the statement announcing the indictments. “Identity fraud and identity theft are two of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, afflicting millions of victims and costing billions of dollars in losses to consumers, businesses and financial institutions.”

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