17 charged in massive ID theft bust

Seventeen people have been arrested in an international ID theft scam.

The operators of a New York business have been charged with running a massive identity-theft and money-laundering operation that raked in more than US$35 million over a four-year period.

In total, 17 people have been indicted in the investigation, which centered on a midtown Manhattan company called Western Express International. The charges were announced Wednesday by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, following a two-year investigation by the Manhattan DA and the United States Secret Service. They are facing as much as 25 years each in prison.

"The defendants participated in a multinational, Internet-based, criminal enterprise ... dedicated to trafficking in stolen credit card numbers and other personal identifiers," the DA said in a statement.

Western Express had been based at 555 Eighth Avenue, in New York, and it operated the Dengiforum.com and Paycard2000.com Web sites. Both of these Web sites were operational on Thursday.

According to the DA, criminals played a variety of roles in the scheme. Criminals who had access to stolen credit card numbers would be hooked up with buyers via what the DA called "cybercrime service providers." Finally, there were "money movers," who would use digital currencies such as Egold and Webmoney to launder the proceeds.

The defendants would meet on "carder" forums, Web sites designed to facilitate this type of illicit commerce, the DA said.

In total, the group trafficked more than 95,000 stolen credit card numbers. Authorities have identified more than US$4 million worth of credit card fraud with the group, but they say Western Express bank accounts moved more than US$35 million in funds over four years. The illegal activity lasted longer than that, the DA states, running from 2001 to 2007.

Last year, two of Western Express's corporate officers received prison sentences after pleaded guilty to illegal check-cashing and money-laundering activities.

The Secret Service referred questions on this case to the Manhattan DA's office. DA representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?