Skip to comments.60 Busted in Bulgarian-Organized 'World's Largest Bank Card Cloning Gang'
Posted on 07/12/2011 7:41:41 AM PDT by markomalley
A total of 60 Bulgarian citizens have now been arrested by police authorities across Europe for participating in a large international scheme for credit card forgery and other crimes.
The gang has been active since nine years and has accumulated a fortune estimated at over EUR 50. Around 5000 police officers from Spain Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, Germany, US intelligence agents and experts from Europol have contributed to the operation, codenamed Night Clone Card.
The Bulgarian crime ring, which has been described as the world's largest in the sphere of bank card cloning, has been active mostly in Italy, where nine suspects were detained. US police arrested two suspects and two more were apprehended in Spain, while one person was held in Poland.
The first group of 47 individuals were arrested by the Bulgarian police last week as part of a highly publicized special police operation codenamed Shock.
How much is EUR 50?
I assume that is some kind of a misprint or mistranslation...(perhaps they mean EUR 50B or something...)
Most of the credit card information had been skimmed at ATMs, or automated teller machines, in Europe.
“The technology is very advanced, it’s very hard to prevent it. And it’s more and more difficult to detect the skimming equipment at an ATM,”
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Justice Department indicted eight Russian and Eastern European computer hackers, alleging they were part of a crime ring that allegedly broke into ATMs in hundreds of cities world-wide and stole $9 million in a matter of hours.
Case Documents Criminal indictment of the eight hackers Prosecutors in Atlanta announced indictments Tuesday in a scheme that is among the most brazen and damaging electronic-bank heists disclosed to date. One of the men accused was arrested and is awaiting extradition from Estonia. The others are thought to be at large.
The alleged hackers cracked a computer system at RBS WorldPay Inc, the US payment processing division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, and cloned prepaid ATM cards, which thieves then used to withdraw cash from 2,100 ATMs from 280 cities around the world, including in the U.S. The synchronized operation, which began Nov. 8, 2008, took no more than 12 hours.
The RBS case is part of a boom in online theft from financial institutions. "More money is stolen electronically or [in] data breaches than through bank robberies," Shawn Henry, assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Division, said in an interview.
The alleged hackers targeted payroll debit cards that companies issue employees for withdrawing their salaries. Once the hackers entered the systems, they boosted the maximum allowed withdrawal and then tried to destroy data on the systems to cover up the break-in, prosecutors alleged. (Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Gangsters from the former Soviet Union have established a strong and abiding presence in the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania region, engaging in a wide array of crimes that range from sophisticated financial frauds to narcotics trafficking to murder.
Evidence also shows that members of disparate Russian-emigre crime groups here have the potential to develop into one of the most formidable organized crime challenges to law enforcement since the advent of La Cosa Nostra.
These are among the key findings of the Tri-State JointSoviet-Emigre Organized Crime Project, a cooperative research andinvestigative effort launched four years ago by four agencies in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania - the New York Organized Crime Task Force, the New York State Commission of Investigation,the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation and the Pennsylvania Crime Commission.
Investigative agents and staff from these agencies conducted the project in conjunction with criminal justice experts from Rutgers University. The Project's report presents the first comprehensive publicassessment of the threat posed to this region by criminal elements emanating from within the former Soviet Union.
The report catalogues the history and growth of Russian-emigre crime networks, from their core base in the Brighton Beachsection of Brooklyn to their current reach well beyond the New York metropolitan area into the counties of central New Jersey and the suburbs of Philadelphia.
One of the most troubling aspects is evidence of links between individuals here and criminal elements in the former Soviet Union, a phenomenon that lends a disturbing and complex international dimension to this emerging domestic law enforcement problem.The range of criminal and illicit activities linked to these groups is impressive.
The Project report details Russian-emigre involvement in a variety of highly sophisticated frauds and confidence schemes, financial crimes, including money laundering, counterfeiting and securities fraud, narcotics trafficking and an assortment of vice crimes.Russian-emigre criminals are no strangers to violence either.
THE NATURE OF RUSSIAN-EMIGRE CRIME
Crimes of Deception
Motor Fuel Tax Fraud
Insurance and Entitlement Fraud
Extortion and Kidnapping
Vice Crimes (Regpay, a Florida credit card processing company operated by Byelorussians, was nailed for processing online child porn payments; Minx, Belarus, once a constituent republic of the Soviet Union (independent since 1991) is the country of origin of many of these predators now thieving on US soil.
--SNIP--PDF LONG READ
A young Russian con man was sentenced to at least 3½ years in prison yesterday for a daring identity-theft scam that rooked wealthy Americans out of $1.5 million, and nearly cost a major backer of President Bush $7 million. Operating online from Moscow, Igor Klopov, 24, found many of his targets through the Forbes 400 list. He would target those from states like Texas and California, where property-deed information is available through the Internet.
He would then use that and other online or forged information to impersonate his marks, and plunder their accounts. His scams included assembling a complete identity dossier, with driver's licenses, birth certificates, utility bills, blank checks and brokerage statements. Klopov was foiled by Manhattan prosecutors as he tried to score his biggest payday - $7 million - from of the home-equity credit account of Texas billionaire Charles Wyly Jr., who donated $2 million to Bush in 2000.
Posing as Wyly, Klopov called the billionaire's bank and asked that a new home-equity line checkbook be sent to the home of an accomplice, who then tried to write a $7 million check to a Westchester gold dealer. Klopov was busted in May after coming to New York to claim the gold. "I can assure you I will change my personality," Klopov told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro, who answered, "I hope you're sincere about that."
Robert Friedman's book is the first to describe in detail the Russian mobsters who have established criminal enterprises throughout the world. His prose sometimes makes it sound like a sequel to Pulp Fiction. A Russian killer in Brooklyn murders a boy, he writes, "by picking him up like a ragdoll with one hand and plunging a knife into his heart with the other." But more than any other reporter he reveals how sophisticated, ruthless, rich, and multinational Russian criminals have become.
Among other things, he writes, they have arranged the sale of military helicopters and a submarine for the Colombia drug barons, and they have acquired influence over the American National Hockey League by threatening players from Eastern Europe and Russia and extorting money from them. They have infiltrated the international financial system, rigging share prices and buying banks in Hungary, Israel, and California. Now they are expanding into Nigeria, South Africa, and Australia.
(Yawn) I guess they'll have to kill me, now that I've outed the scheme. Gosh, I'm so scared (snore). Not to worry. I've notified Scotland Yard, Interpol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the DOJ, CIA, FBI, state, local and county law enforcement----and I named names.........just in case lurkers are taking notes (smirk).
Before Red Mafiya ... before Pulp Fiction ... there was ... and we are happy to present to you...
Red Heat (1988)
Red Heat is a 1988 buddy cop film directed by Walter Hill. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Moscow narc Ivan Danko, and James Belushi, as Chicago detective Art Ridić. Finding themselves on the same case, Danko and Ridić work as partners to catch a cunning and deadly Soviet Georgian drug kingpin, Viktor Rostavili (Ed O'Ross), who also happens to be the killer of Danko's previous partner back in Soviet Russia. .....
On a serious note, the Soviet Union's original security agency Cheka and its numerous offsprings like GRU , GPU , NKVD/KGB and Spetsnaz were known for sponsoring and fostering similar self-financing loose cells inside and outside of Soviet block.
One of the early famous spectacular successes of Soviet counter-intelligence work was a long-running sting operation known as Operation Trust which snared many counter-revolutionaries, their exiled / expats financiers and foreign spies, including British agent Sidney Reilly, aka Ace of Spies (a prototype for Ian Fleming's James Bond).
There is a Polish movie (with English subtitles) which is well worth watching, about some GRU activities (specifically in Europe) Aquarium / Akwarium (1996), based on the book Inside the Aquarium by/about Vladimir Surokov, a sentenced to death in absentia defector from GRU to Britain. "Aquarium" is the code name for GRU HQ.
CIRCA 2008---MORTGAGE CONS GOT ATL. CITY COMPS (27-member massive mortgage swindle)
NY POST, BRUCE GOLDING
EXCERPT Garri Zhigun and his cohorts were treated like kings in Atlantic City casinos, including the Borgata. The ringleaders of a massive mortgage scam got comped as high rollers in Atlantic City by gambling with more than $400,000 in cash that they swindled from slipshod sub-prime lenders tied to the current financial crisis.
Garri Zhigun, 31, and Aleksander "Shorty" Lipkin, 30, used their ill-gotten gains to score free rooms, drinks, meals and show tickets at the Tropicana and Borgata casinos, a law-enforcement source said.
The Brooklyn men took 29 trips to the plush gambling dens in 2005 and 2006, playing with cash conned from lenders like Countrywide and Washington Mutual - whose now-worthless subprime mortgages were a key cause of the stock-market meltdown.
MONEY-LAUNDERING An investigation of casino records revealed that Zhigun bought a total of $434,850 in chips and cashed out only $135,000, the source said. Zhigun apparently shared the chips with Lipkin, according to the source.
At the time of their betting binge, Zhigun was on supervised release after serving two years' prison for faking injury records in a long-running insurance scam involving staged car accidents that the feds broke up in 2001.
After getting sprung, Zhigun told probation officials that he was making only $400 a week as a "real-estate development researcher." But in reality, he was helping Lipkin run a crooked loan operation out of a Brooklyn-based brokerage owned by Zhigun's mom, Galina Zhigun.
Six people were busted for allegedly running a 10-year scheme in Brooklyn that filed bogus health claims and ripped off Medicaid by more than $47 million, authorities announced yesterday. The fraud's accused mastermind, Alexander Levy, had the help of a handful of employees in allegedly setting up a string of clinics and ambulette stations, using unlicensed doctors to treat the sick and elderly -- and pocketing the cash.
Levy had been barred from any participation in the Medicaid program by the state Department of Health in 1997 for submitting false claims to Medicaid for unnecessary services and for care that was never actually given. But he illegally circumvented the system and continued to make claims, going to great lengths to hide his involvement in the care facilities he ran.
Levy is accused of squandering the cash on at least three luxury cars and a divorce settlement. The people who allegedly ran his operation -- employees he paid as little as $35,000 a year -- made no cash from the scam, their attorneys said yesterday. Levy, 54, from Staten Island, grinned as he was led to his arraignment in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn yesterday. He faces up to 25 years for grand larceny, health-care fraud and money laundering. He was held on $250,000 cash bail.
His alleged accomplices at the clinics -- Zona Castellano, 69, Aaron Bethea, 53, Leonid Sklyar, 30, Yelena Bogatyrov, 43, and Arthur Gutman, 42 -- were also charged with grand larceny and fraud. Prosecutors claim Levy operated ANR Advance Home Care Inc., on Avenue U, as well as two ambulette companies and three clinics in Brighton Beach (Russian immigrant enclave).
Levy "set up a series of corporations elaborately structured to conceal his control.