NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Authorities say they’ve cut off a major identity theft operation.
The suspects are from New York City, but a significant portion of the alleged crimes were committed here in western New York and involve massive cash advance withdrawals at Seneca Casinos. Authorities say this case could involve hundreds of out-of-state victims and big money losses.
Tracy Gast, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Secret Service Office, said, “I think the overall scope of the case has not been determined yet. Right now, we’re at about $250,000 in loss.”
Eight people from New York City and Florida are charged in a suspected counterfeit credit card ring. They’re accused of draining accounts, possibly by skimming information from credit cards. Gast says skimming generally involves electronically scanning information from the card’s magnetic strip.
What’s more, the government alleges that the suspects withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash advances from ATMs at Seneca Casinos in Niagara Falls and Salamanca. The complaint states that between October and December 2009, over 110 cash withdrawals were made in $2,000 amounts, totaling about $200,000.
“The victims we have right now had not been patrons of the casino. So what we’re looking at is where they might have obtained that information,” said Gast.