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ORC 8-13-14




FBI Press release: Mustafa Family Crime Ring - Worldwide Smartphone Theft Ring Busted in Minneapolis - 20 members busted with runners hitting stores nationwide

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger yesterday announced the indictment of 20 members of the Mustafa Family (The Organization), a Twin Cities-based criminal organization, for trafficking stolen and fraudulently obtained mobile telephones and tablets. From at least 2006 through 2014, JAMAL MUSTAFA directed the Organization to use stolen identity information to obtain cellular telephones and other mobile devices for the purpose of trafficking them throughout the United States and internationally. The Family owned and operated 13 mobile device stores in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The Organization used these storefronts to buy devices that they knew had been illegally obtained, including purchasing thousands of cellular phones from runners and other persons who got the phones through robberies, burglaries, shoplifting, and fraud and identity-theft schemes. With the assistance of AHMED SUNOQROT, the Organization moved inventory and money between their stores, which the Organization used as fronts to funnel the illicit proceeds of their criminal activity. According to the indictment, the Organization paid runners who stole mobile devices or obtained them fraudulently by other means.

As charged, various members of the Mustafa Family provided stolen or fraudulent identity information to the runners, including names, dates of birth, social security numbers, credit card numbers, passport information, and driver’s license numbers of victims. Some of the runners operated solely within Minnesota, while others travelled to Arizona, Idaho, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Utah to obtain devices. The Organization arranged out-of-state travel for the runners and paid their expenses. One runner was arrested in Utah in 2013 with more than 80 counterfeit identification documents and genuine victim-information documents. This runner used those documents to open lines of credit at various retail outlets to make fraudulent device purchases.

The runners were instructed by the Mustafas to obtain phones by contract-fraud and subscription-fraud schemes. In such schemes, runners used real stolen identities to obtain cell phone contracts. At times, the runners obtained “family plans” or “business accounts.” In so doing, runners were sold phones at deeply discounted prices by the legitimate retailers. The full retail price of an iPhone 5s in the United States is approximately $648. Under a two-year contract, the same phone is sold for approximately $200. Runners then opened accounts entitling them to obtain as few as one discounted phone, and as many as 30. The runners then shipped or delivered the phones back to the Mustafas, via one of the thirteen Twin Cities storefronts, or shipped the phones to wholesalers in other states for sale overseas. A new iPhone 5s retails for between $1,000 and $1,200 overseas.

Other runners engaged in street-level violence or burglary to obtain phones. The Sunrise Group, a burglary ring that traveled throughout the Upper Midwest for the purpose of breaking into WalMart stores to steal cell phones, iPads, and other electronic devices, provided electronic devices to the Mustafa Family on several occasions. The Mustafa Family made requests of the Sunrise Group for large quantities of new phones, and would act as a fence for the stolen merchandise. (Source


ORC duo busted hitting Target Stores in Staten Island, N.Y. with forged credit cards buying Apple Products  Police have arrested another man in connection with a sophisticated identity fraud ring that authorities say used credit card-forging equipment to steal Apple products from Target stores in the borough. On Monday, police arrested James McMillan, 22, of Brooklyn, charging him with several felonies in connection with the scheme. In July, police arrested McMillan's accomplice, Sung Lee, 32, after finding a treasure trove of credit card-forging equipment, weapons, drugs and fireworks in his New Springville home, court papers allege. McMillan was convicted of second-degree identity theft in the Bronx in July 2013, according to the complaint. Police caught Lee on July 9, when he returned to the Charleston Target carrying four forged credit cards with the GreenDot MasterCard logo, authorities allege. Cops searched his apartment that day, finding several devices to print, emboss and encode credit cards, a skimming device designed to read information from credit and debit cards, more than 170 credit card blanks, 53 cards encoded with personal information, and a magnetic store key capable of opening display cases, court papers allege. The complaint against Lee references a third suspect, identified as Dennis Lopez, though it doesn't specify his role in the scheme. On Monday, police arrested McMillan of Brooklyn and charged him with 62 counts of felony and misdemeanor offenses. (Source

ID theft ring leader gets 14 years in prison for aggravated ID theft, fraud schemes and forgery in Tucson  Underwood was arrested for multiple counts of fraud schemes and artifices, aggravated identity theft, and credit card theft, after police searched her home and found evidence of a large fraud operation. Police served a search warrant in the 10000 block of East Speedway at Underwood's home and found that she appeared to be one of the leaders of this criminal syndicate. The investigation revealed there were more than 40 people victimized by Underwood and more than $85,000 dollars fraudulently charged by her. (Source

2 New York-area men arrested with 60 counterfeit credit cards, Westfield police say  Two men were arrested this week in Westfield with dozens of counterfeit credit cards and more than 50 gift cards that they purchased as part of a scam, police say. Police say Gilbert was attempting to purchase $300 worth of prepaid visa cards at Rite Aid in Westfield when a manager recognized the ruse that had been plaguing other Rite Aids. The manager canceled the transaction and called police. (Source

Shoplifting suspect caught with Booster Bags in southern Ohio  A shoplifting suspect was arrested in Miami County with an unusual tool of the trade. Deputies say they stopped Shamon Smith, 43, of Louisville, Kentucky for a traffic violation in Concord Township. They say they found $5,000 worth of stolen clothes and so-called booster bags inside her car. Investigators believe the clothes were stolen from department stores in Michigan. (Source


ORC 8-13-14
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