At least 13 persons of Indian origin are among 111 people charged
in the busting of a $13 million global crime ring, the biggest in
US history involved in forged credit cards and identity theft.
Announcing the uncovering of the ring Friday, Queens county
district attorney Richard Brown called it the largest and perhaps
most sophisticated ring of its kind in US history.
Authorities hired translators to eavesdrop on a series of
conversations in Arabic, Russian and Mandarin that led police to
86 suspects in a series of raids that started Tuesday, Brown said.
He said the defendants, who were charged with stealing the
personal credit information of thousands of unwitting American and
European users, are allegedly members of five organised crime
rings with ties to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, CNN
reported. Twenty-five others remain at large, Brown added.
All of the 111 suspects were indicted in the theft case, while
nearly two dozen of them were also charged in six indictments
related to burglaries and robberies.
Several suspects are believed to have engaged in "nationwide
shopping sprees, staying at five-star hotels, renting luxury
automobiles and private jets, and purchasing tens of thousands of
dollars worth of high-end electronics and expensive handbags and
jewellery with forged credit cards," the Queens county district
attorney's office reported.
The two-year probe, dubbed "Operation Swiper", involved physical
surveillance, intelligence gathering and court-authorised
electronic eavesdropping on dozens of telephones, in which
thousands of conversations were intercepted, it said.
The indictments charge that Imran Khan, Ali Khweiss, Anthony
Martin, Sanjay Deowsarran and Amar Singh were "bosses" of criminal
enterprises and received the necessary raw material - lists of
credit card account numbers and various blank credit cards.
Among the Indian-origin people charged are Vishnu Harilal,
Ravindra Singh, Amar Singh, Neha Punjabi Singh, Ravi Ramroop and