Seven members of an alleged identity theft ring were arrested after they stolen about $1 million in merchandise and gift cards over several years, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney said.
The attorney's office said the defendants used stolen identities of 180 people with active store credit accounts at Home Depot Inc. (HD), Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD), Kohl's Corp. (KSS) and other retail stores to charge merchandise and gift cards to the accounts and obtain store credits. They then resold the merchandise and gift cards for a profit.
The seven arrested are alleged ring leader Phillip Smith, three brothers--Mahmoud, Ali and Fadal Abdul Hussein--Melissa Morton, Francis Hidalgo and Randy White.
The brothers allegedly manufactured fake driver's licenses out of their storefront smoke shops in Greenwich Village, while Morton allegedly impersonated female identity theft victims, and Hidalgo and White allegedly resold the items. The ring was believed to have started in 2008 or earlier.
The defendants will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox in Manhattan federal court Thursday, the attorney's office said.
-By Ben Fox Rubin, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3108; email@example.com