Identity theft rings can do a lot of damage before they're caught. Here are some criminal enterprises that have grabbed the attention of police — including one that tried to scam a police officer.
ID Theft Ring Found Out After Targeting Police Officer
An Ohio identity theft ring was discovered by authorities when a police officer became a victim, according to ABC 5 Cleveland.
When Lt. Matt Neil's credit card company told him his account was compromised, he sought out video from the stores where the charges were made. Neil then put the suspects' photo on the police department's Facebook page. Within minutes, workers at several retail stores got in touch with leads.
Shortly thereafter, suspects Ming Chun Shi, Hue Dong Dong, Wen Fei Shi and Yu Liu were arrested and charged with identity theft and other related crimes. Authorities believe they are a part of a larger identity theft ring.
Police have found several other victims, including one in Pennsylvania. A multi-state investigation is underway.
Texas ID Thieves Impersonate Debt Collectors
Criminals claiming to be debt collectors for the Texas Attorney General's Office are on the prowel, KGNS reports.
Dozens of residents received calls stating they owed funds — usually child support. The scammers also claimed that arrest warrants were issued and that they had to confirm the victim's Social Security number and other personal information.
After obtaining personal data, the thieves then asked the victims to "resolve" the matter by paying the debt by loading a pre-paid debit card with cash and giving the card number over the phone.
Authorities are still investigating and urge residents to verify the authenticity of such claims directly with the governmental agency.
Florida Cops Nab Suspected Russian Mob Scammers
Four Miami men who claim connections to the Russian mob were arrested for their alleged role in a traveling fraud ring, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
When arrested, the suspects had about $20,000 in merchandise with them that they'd purchased with bogus credit cards. One of the suspects said they'd obtained the stolen identities from the Russian mob in Miami, according to police.
Angel Rodriguez, Jorge Tejeda, Alexis Zaldivar and Rolando Diaz-Coca were each charged with eight counts of obtaining property by fraud, using a two-way communication device and possession of another’s property with serial number.
Ringleader Gets 15 Years
A Colorado woman convicted of running a 13-person identity theft ring was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the Denver Post reports.
Authorities say that Selina Davison's operation targeted 65 individuals and businesses from April 2012 to January 2013 by stealing mail and breaking into cars and buildings.
The identity theft ring stole $26,000, according to prosecutors. Davison pleaded guilty to violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, and other members of her operation have been arrested and sentenced as well.
Nathan Lees, the ring's co-leader, pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to 16 years in prison in April.