A multi-year probe into an identity theft, credit care fraud, and drug smuggling ring resulted in the early morning arrests of more than a dozen different individuals on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. The round-up, which required the collaboration of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other Los Angeles and Orange County law enforcement agencies to effectuate, involved several simultaneous raids in the early morning hours that same day.
One of the first raids of the day occurred around 6:00 a.m.. at La Mirada's 13800 Mansa Drive. Others took place in Whittier, La Habra and Norwalk. Each suspect was to be arraigned at 2:00 p.m., that same day on charges that they conspired with one another in operating a credit card skimming network. After raids had ended for the day, two of the suspects that investigators had hoped to net remained at large.
In the once-sealed, 27-count federal indictment, it detailed how the suspects were believed to have installed skimmers, a type of credit card data storage device, on the computers of local restaurants. At some later point in time, it's alleged that the defendants would retrieve these skimmers from these different locations, clone the data to other cards and go on shopping sprees.
Skimming is a sophisticated crime in which victims unknowingly swipe their cards through the device, only to find out later that their bank accounts have been wiped out or balances maxed. While investigations into these types of crimes can take a while to carry out, once charges are filed, prosecutors generally tend to have airtight cases as a result.
If you're facing identity or credit card theft charges, then an Orange County, California, criminal defense attorney can advise you of any potential defenses you may be able to pursue in your case.
Source: NBC 4 Los Angeles, "Identity theft, credit card fraud suspects arrested in raid across LA, Orange counties," accessed June 20, 2017