In the United States, over the previous 7 years, a gang of swindlers brought about a theft of iPhones worth $19 million, according to reports. The six-person group was termed by the NYPD and the FBI as the ‘Fraud Ring’, and its members as ‘Top Dogs’. The group used forged identity cards and debit cards to purchase the latest iPhones and then resold them in the Black Market for substantial profits. For payment, they supposedly used the method of installments. They were thus able to flawlessly pull the theft off.
All the specifications of the case have been printed by Quartz. Victims consisted of the carriers and the clients whose accounts were used. The court report stated that individuals, presenting themselves as the actual account owners, went to the stores with their forged IDs and debit cards with the intention of upgrading to newer iPhones on their present accounts. They would ask the charges to be billed out in the upcoming months. When the actual account holders see them on their bills, the swindlers, along with the devices they managed to obtain, would long be gone.
According to reports, culprits are accused of conspiracy, identity theft, and mail fraud. The robbery was spread over 34 states in the U.S. Exact quantity of affected customers is yet to be revealed. With the promise of a decreased sentence, a cooperating witness (termed as CW-1) disclosed the working of the ‘Fraud Ring’. The ‘Top Dogs’ made the most profit from the thefts. Middlemen were in charge of carrying out criminal acts including identity theft. Drivers and men on foot that traveled to various locations to perform the fraud and ship the phones to the Bronx are at the lowest level.
In 2013, CW-1 joined the swindlers. He has carried out nearly 18 trips since then. He was paid $100 by the Fraud Ring for every phone he managed to steal. A shipping company, in 2014, found it suspicious how large bundles were often being delivered to the same location (not a house address). One of these bundles were then opened and about 250 phones, together with forged cards, licenses and passports, were discovered.
According to the reports, the accused have pleaded not guilty.