NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thirty people have been arrested and charged in connection with a stolen credit card and identity theft ring in Queens.

The ring was responsible for stealing personal credit information from hundreds of consumers at a cost of more than $3.5 million in losses to individuals and financial institutions, prosecutors said.

“Many of the defendants charged today are accused of going on shopping sprees, purchasing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of high-end electronics and fashion merchandise at a single clip with forged credit cards that contained the account information of unsuspecting consumers,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a news release. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement colleagues to stamp out such fraud.”

In addition to the arrests, authorities said they shut down four fake identification “mills” where forged documents were manufactured. Several of them were located along the Roosevelt Avenue corridor in Queens, prosecutors said.

The indictments alleged that Muhammad Rana, 40, was the boss of the identity theft ring and Inderjeet Singh, 24, was the underboss who assisted rana whenever he was busy or unavailable. They allegedly employed Ranvie “Rick” Seepersad, 25, as a “profile supplier” who obtained victims’ names, dates of birth, current and past addresses, Social Security numbers, bank and credit information, and even credit reports – among other data he allegedly stole.

Seepersad allegedly accessed the financial records of potential buyers at car dealerships where he worked and gave them to the theft ring for a flat fee, prosecutors said.

The theft ring then gave the stolen personal information to an “account activator” who took the information and prepared accounts to be taken over, prosecutors said.

Rana also provided “shoppers” with stolen credit cards and forged identification cards for them to shop, prosecutors said. The merchandise was to be resold by “fences” or by Rana himself, prosecutors said.

The theft ring operated in Queens and elsewhere between April 2015 and January of this year, prosecutors said.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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