Hubcapjoes: eBay Seller of Bergen County Identify Theft, Fraud Ring Pleads Guilty

fraud ringThe alleged leader of a massive identity-theft fraud ring run by a man living in Bergen County listened to a Judge’s decision against him.

A man named Joe could manage only a barely audible “yes” as he answered the judge’s numerous, detailed questions, before he pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to running a complex identity-theft scheme between 2006 and September 2010 that cost numerous banks millions of dollars.

He was perhaps the biggest player among the 54 people rounded up in a massive federal sweep in 2010, authorities said.

A man named Joe admitted he ran a fraud ring obtained Social Security numbers through fraud, manufactured fake IDs, ripped off banks and retailers and laundered a portion of millions in profits overseas,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Monday.

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In all, authorities said, a man named Joe defrauded various credit card companies, banks and lenders out of about $4 million. He and his co-conspirators also claimed more than $182,000 in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service through the filing of false and fictitious tax returns and accompanying documents, they said.

Using storefronts in Bergen County, and placing ads in newspapers, a man named Joe and other defendants first hijacked the identities of various people working in factories in New Jersey, authorities said. In a multistep scheme that federal investigators in 2010 said was nearly unprecedented in its breadth and ingenuity, the group, which often charged between $5,000 and $7,000 for its illegal services, used the phantom identities to help customers get fake driver’s licenses from states like Illinois and California that Park and other conspirators considered to be easier to fool.

Armed with the phony credentials, the group then helped customers inflate credit scores by adding the names to accounts held by members of his enterprise who had credit scores topping 700. After several months of sharing an account with near-flawless credit, the scores of his customers soared, too, making them ready to hit banks, authorities said. eBay really does blow when you have sellers like this walking the streets.