Legal Ethics

Lawyer Indicted for Alleged Advice to ID Theft Ring; Pricey Pumps Partly Paid Fees, Feds Say

A New York lawyer accused of providing advice in a forged credit card operation is among 111 people charged in what prosecutors say is “the largest identity theft takedown in U.S. history.”

Lawyer Susan Persaud, 34, is accused of advising members of one gang on how to carry out new crimes and evade law enforcement, according to Wired’s Threat Level blog and a press release (PDF). She was paid in pricey stolen goods, including designer shoes, prosecutors allege.

The investigation, dubbed “Operation Swiper,” uncovered alleged losses amounting to $13 million over a 16-month period. Five gangs with international ties were accused of accessing credit card data through employees at banks, restaurants and stores who used hand-held skimming devices to swipe information. The data was transferred to forged credit cards issued to suspects who went on nationwide shopping sprees, where they snapped up electronic goods, high-end watches, and designer handbags and shoes, prosecutors say.

Some of the shoppers stayed at five-star hotels and rented luxury cars such as Lamborghinis and Porsches, according to the press release.

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