NYC cops bust restaurant ID theft ring

April 21, 2007 at 7:30 PM
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NEW YORK, April 21 (UPI) -- An identity-theft ring has allegedly stolen at least $3 million from New York restaurant diners, using their victims' credit cards to make large purchases.

Twelve men and one woman have been indicted in the scheme that allegedly victimized more than 1,000 unsuspecting restaurant patrons, The New York Post reported Saturday.

Police seized around $200,000 in cash, big-screen TVs, Rolex watches and Gucci handbags at the Brooklyn home of the alleged ringleader, 34-year-old Ziang Huant.

Police said crooked wait staff would use customer credit cards to swipe information on their own card "skimmers" -- in exchange for $50 tips.

The card numbers would then be made into bogus credit cards and armies of "shoppers" would go out and purchase high-end products, such as electronics and imported leather goods. Authorities said most of the items were later sold at electronics and computer stores in Queens.

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