Five members of a College Point family, a Jamaica resident, a Laurelton resident, a Flushing resident and four other people have been indicted in connection with a fraudulent credit card scheme, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office said last Thursday.
The defendants, who include five P.C. Richard & Sons employees, are accused of writing bad checks to boost credit card limits, or “bust them out,” then using the cards to purchase electronics, jewelry and other merchandise, which they sent to Lahore, Pakistan, where they were sold at a profit, the DA’s office said.
“Armed with wallets filled with bogus credit cards and with the assistance of a handful of dishonest employees, the defendants ripped off P.C. [Richard] alone of more than $100,000 in merchandise, which was then shipped halfway around the world and sold for pure profit,” Brown said in a statement.
The P.C. Richard employees worked at stores in College Point and Elmont, L.I., and Carle Place, L.I., where they worked together and with the other defendants to rip the stores off, the DA’s office said.
The defendants also used the fraudulent cards to obtain cash advances at banks and to perpetrate other forms of fraud, Brown said.
Eleven defendants were arrested on the charges, according to the DA’s office, and one, David Francis, 47, who has no known address, was still being sought last week. Helen Peterson, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office, did not know Tuesday whether he had been arrested since then.
A search warrant executed at an address in College Point allegedly found Pakistani passports belonging to several of the defendants with multiple names and dates of birth, blank Social Security cards, Canadian and New York driver’s licenses and binders containing more than 300 credit cards, according to the DA’s office.
A number of the defendants are accused of creating forged identification documents in order to apply repeatedly to credit card companies.
“Identity theft puts more than money at risk. The sophisticated network broken in Queens (last Thursday was tied to conspirators overseas for financial gain,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement. “These schemes drain bank accounts, ruin credit and potentially equip terrorists with the documentation they need to avoid detection.”
The 12 defendants were hit with a total of 92 charges between them, including grand larceny, falsifying business records, criminal possession of a forged instrument, offering a false instrument for filing, tampering with public records, petit larceny and scheme to defraud.
The investigation into the alleged fraud scheme, which began in April 2009, was conducted by the NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force and the district attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau with the assistance of the Postal Inspector, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General and New York Department of Motor Vehicles.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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