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100+ arrested in massive New York theft ring

October 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities say 111 people are charged in a massive identity theft ring that stretched to China, Europe and the Middle East.

So far, 86 people have been taken into custody, but police are still looking for the others. The suspects are bank tellers, restaurant workers and other service employees in New York.

Five separate criminal enterprises operating out of Queens were dismantled. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown called it the largest fraud case in decades.

Bank workers, retail employees and restaurant workers would steal credit card numbers in a process known as skimming, in which workers take information from when a card is swiped for payment.

The numbers were then given to teams of manufacturers, who would forge Visas, MasterCards, Discover and American Express cards.

The plastic would be given to teams of criminal "shoppers" for spending sprees at stores like Apple, Bloomingdale's and Macy's, and then the suspects would then resell the merchandise oversees to locations in China, Europe and the Middle East.

Police searched several homes and seized computers, packaged electronics, and $650,000 in cash, along with several weapons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.