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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?