Twenty-seven New Yorkers were busted for allegedly using stolen credit card info to buy nearly $1 million in products at Apple stores— and the whole scam was run by a felon at Rikers Island, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said yesterday.
Shaheed Bilal, 28, of Brooklyn, allegedly directed his girlfriend and three brothers on how to run the con, in which credit card information was bought mainly from overseas stolen-identity peddlers and them embedded on to the magnetic strips of the counterfeit cards.
The cards were then paired with the real identities of “shoppers,” who bought iPhones, iPods, Macbooks and other products from the stores, including all four in New York, the district attorney’s office said.
The products were then resold at below-retail prices.
“This case demonstrates the dangers of organized computer crime,” Vance said. “Today, we have effectively dismantled a significant criminal operation that preyed upon innocent victims around the world.”
Officials also seized $300,000 in cash and bank account holdings from the group, called “S3,” along with three guns.
All 27 were indicted yesterday and nine have been arraigned, including alleged ringleader Bilal, whose charges include conspiracy and second-degree grand larceny. Second-degree grand larceny alone is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Apple didn’t return calls for comment. Attorneys for the defendants couldn't be reached.