FBI Arrests Bank Fraud Suspects In New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. (1010 WINS/CBS 2) — Federal authorities charged dozens of people Thursday in an elaborate scam that used social security numbers from Asian immigrants to defraud banks, department stores and the government.

Prosecutors in Newark discussed the charges in detail and said that federal agents had rounded up 53 Korean-Americans in the early morning raids.  Officials said the scheme spanned New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and California.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

Authorities said the suspects were from Palisades Park, Fort Lee and New York City.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said the defendants stole the identities of Chinese foreign workers with valid Social Security cards, obtained drivers licenses and built up the credit under that person’s name. Then, with that high credit, the suspects took out loans and opened up credit cards to purchase high end goods — including homes, luxury cars, and designer shoes.

Fishman said most of the goods — including Gucci shoes, Louis Vuitton bag and Cartier watches were kept, but some had been resold for cash.

Fishman called the entire operation “pretty remarkable,” adding that the schemes were “sophisticated” and “clever.”

Michael Ward, the Newark Special Agent in charge of the FBI in Newark, told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan the stunning scheme started with the defendants using brokers to get hold of Social Security numbers of Chinese immigrants who worked in American territories like Guam.

“There were a pool of accounts that were maintained strictly for the purpose of building credit and they would attach these identities to these various accounts for a period of 2 to 3 months so they could help build a credit history,” Ward said.

The defendants face numerous charges including identity theft and bank fraud.

Authorities said the defendants even ran advertisements in Korean newspapers to recruit potential customers.

Forty-seven defendants were arrested Thursday, another is in state custody and five remain at large.

Officials said none of the Chinese immigrants from the American territories have been charged.  However, sources told CBS 2 that some of the Social Security numbers were indeed sold.

  • james

    Come on guys.. Why bringing Nigerians and Koreans here? Who says Americans don’t scam?? There are tons of American Scammers out there too!!! A lot of American Credit Card companies are totally scammers!!

  • HatsOff

    We all know how backward Korea is just look at the North and South always fighting each other. They can’t even get along with themselves much less the Chinese.

  • JC

    Nigerians, Columbians, Puerto Ricans, Italians, Korean, Russians, crime has no exceptions, Happy they were caught!!!!

  • fifi

    this scheme is a piece of cake. elites in the Wall Street are far more clever, they invented CDS and CDO and caused many people went bankrupt.

  • LA

    All of you should stop with the name calling and slurs. You wouldn’t be saying any of this to someone’s face, but everyone is brave online. Every country has its criminals, and it’s wrong to condemned the whole nation because of a few jerks.

  • Wagner

    Maybe some people should learn a little bit about Nigeria, l been to the country couple of times, there is so much money but with the corrupt few and I cannot but feel sorry for the nation, no electricity, no water, no good roads and no social security. That country must be the poorest rich nation in the world, that’s why they do so much fraud.

  • pete

    I agree “Prayed on their own kind” pretty shallow I think.

    They are going to do serious time. Who pays for this….we do in our interest rates. of over 27%

  • spyle

    u sound like u even went to an elementary school. just a little problem dude, u don’t know any squat about the country Nigeria. bad as it may look some times, that have some of the world best brain and human people.

  • Omar

    “Preyed on their own kind”

    Is that how they teach journalists to write these days? What are they aliens? Another species? Why couldn’t the author have said “Preyed on other Korean-Americans” or “Preyed on other members of their community?”

    It’s 2010, get it together CBS/1010 WINS.

  • jenny

    koreans are crooks esp. from the south

    • nunya

      That was a stupid thing to say. You know nothing about Koreans, but you only judge by the ones that live in filthy disgusting America. America breeds thieves, and scammers.

  • Roy

    I guess they are taking lessons from the Nigerians,but doing an even better job at it.After their convictions,and jail terms,they should all be deported to NORTH KORREA!`

  • chris hooks Ekawu

    Thank God they are not Nigerian as previously being say! our name calling should stop. we Nigerian are hard working people.

  • Rodriguez

    People everywhere do less fraud than Africans but Nigerians sure do get all credits for fraud, em leaders stack all the oil money in other countries and the citizen slave and steal 24/7 to survive, Nigerians go home, put up a civil war, kill all em politicians and change the name of yah country. You sure then get the respect and a better country, your politicians are corrupting the whole world.

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