Among other things, the crime ring bought and sold stolen debit and credit card numbers on an internet site called Carder.su.
“The extent of the theft and sale of personal information uncovered by this investigation is astonishing”, US Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press. Bogden dubbed the federal investigation into the crime ring “Operation Open Market.”
Bogden said that federal authorities arrested five people in Las Vegas and 14 more in California, Florida, New York, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and West Virginia. Further arrests are expected.
Charges against the individuals include conspiracy, racketeering, and production and trafficking in false ID documents and access device cards, according to the statement.
Members of the ring allegedly traded counterfeit documents and stolen bank account information on organization websites.
Leaders of the ring allegedly tested and provided reviews of services, including money laundering and products like fake ID documents and stolen credit card account data lists from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US, according to the news wire.