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Old 09-14-2008, 01:03 PM
7,020 posts, read 9,897,260 times
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Local and federal authorities have cracked an identity theft ring that cloned the credit cards of people in the Athens area, allowing thieves to go on an illegal multi-state shopping spree.

Athens-Clarke police and the U.S. Secret Service would not comment on the ongoing investigation, which started last year. So far, at least three men have been arrested, one from Winterville and others from Atlanta and North Carolina.

But according to a search warrant filed in Clarke County Superior Court, the scheme was run by Vikas Yadav from his home at 175 Sagewood Drive in Winterville, who gleaned customer credit card numbers while working at a local liquor store.

Although authorities would not say how long they believe the alleged fraud ring operated or how much was stolen, authorities apparently seized tens of thousands of dollars in ill-gotten goods when they searched Yadav's home, according to search warrants.

Yadav, an illegal immigrant, has been in federal custody since he was arrested near a Wal-Mart in New Albany, Miss., where local police found him with credit card cloning equipment and 14 re-coded credit cards, the search warrant states.

Authorities identified Yadav as a clerk at Perry's Liquor on Lexington Road, according to the warrant, but store owner Ravi Patel said in an interview Monday that Yadav did computer maintenance for the business over the past couple of years.

Patel said he didn't know that Yadav had installed a keystroke logger, a small device that crooks can use to steal financial data from computers.

"We didn't know anything about it," Patel said. "I'm just very glad they caught him, and very sad that this happened to my customers."

The investigation began in spring 2007, and last October, federal authorities intercepted a package Yadav sent to Dashun McQuiller of Jacksonville, N.C. It contained more than 20 gift cards encoded with the credit card numbers of Athens-area residents, the warrant states.


The third world crime wave has taken hold everywhere. Wow . . just wow
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