Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced indictments of 27 individuals in connection with “S3,” a credit card forgery and identity theft ring based in Brooklyn that compromised hundreds of bank accounts, and fraudulently purchased Apple products from stores around the country to resell for profit.

Charges in the indictments include Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, Forgery in the Second Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. The crimes charged in the two indictments total 57 counts on two separate conspiracies: 48 counts on the first conspiracy, which occurred between June 2008 and December 2010, and nine counts on the second conspiracy, which occurred between September 2010 and December 2010. The defendants were the target of a joint investigation by the New York County District Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and the United States Secret Service.

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, beginning in June 2008, the defendants, who called themselves “S3,” obtained personal identifying information, such as the names and credit card account numbers, of identity theft victims. This information was purchased from online data traffickers via web-based portals, and the purchasers would store the stolen credit card information in shared email accounts, allowing several defendants to begin creating counterfeit credit cards. 

The defendants then recruited individuals to act as “shoppers,” who entered stores armed with these manufactured cards containing the shoppers’ real names paired with stolen account information. The counterfeit credit cards were used to purchase goods for S3’s own use, or to resell for profit.