Notorious "ID Theft Gang" Arrested

We weren’t quite sure there even was something called an “ID theft gang,” but there must be because the ringleader of one has been arrested. A Russian con artist was caught posing as Charles J. Wyly Jr., friend of President Bush and former head of the craft-store chain Michael’s. The con artist was trying to pass a $7 million dollar check to a New York gold dealer.

From Forbes:

An indictment alleges that Klopov picked his victims from the Forbes 400 list, then tapped into online databases to collect information “about the value of property, size of outstanding mortgages and existing lines of credit,” prosecutor James Kindler said at a news conference.

Klopov then hired his co-conspirators to help forge documents and raid bank accounts, an operation financed with stolen credit cards, prosecutors said.

In December 2005, prosecutors said, Klopov was able to order the sale of $1 million of stock held by a couple in California, then persuade the brokerage to wire the proceeds to his bank account by having an accomplice hand-deliver a forged authorization letter. In other cases, they said, the co-conspirators were turned away from banks after seeking to withdraw hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims’ accounts using fake identifications and doctored documents.

The scheme began to unravel last November, when a Westchester County gold dealer contacted Wyly’s bank about the $7 million check. Wyly denied writing it.

Undercover investigators posing as accomplices contacted Klopov and convinced him the transaction had gone through. Authorities “even arranged to have a picture of (an undercover) taken with the gold bars, which was e-mailed to Klopov as proof of purchase,” Kindler said.

In May, Klopov agreed to come to the United States to retrieve the gold, prosecutors said.

The undercover officers met him in the Dominican Republic and flew with him by private jet to New York, where he was arrested.

Klopov’s 4 other accomplices were arrested Thursday in Michigan, Florida, Texas and Kentucky.

NY Gold Dealer Gets Fake $7M Wyly Check [Forbes]
(Photo:Morton Fox)

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