Traveling Thieves Snag $1 Million Worth of Apple Products With Fake Credit Cards


appleA gang of grifters used thousands of stolen identities and counterfeit credit cards to go on a $1 million shopping spree at Apple stores across the country, prosecutors said.

The traveling band of about two dozen alleged thieves was indicted on conspiracy, grand larceny, identity theft and forgery charges in the whopping take-down after a two-year investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s Cyber Crimes Unit and the Secret Service.

At least seven men and one woman were hauled into Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday.

Reputed ring leader Shaheed “Sha” Bilal, 28, who orchestrated the May 2009 to December 2010 conspiracy from jail, was held on $1 million bail, according to court papers.

Prosecutors said the gang bought stolen identities and used Yahoo! email accounts to store, send and receive thousands of stolen credit card numbers. They used a credit card encoding machine to make the fake cards.

Armed with the plastic, they shopped, hitting mostly Apple stores where they snapped up iPods and MacBook laptops, but also gift cards and clothing. They swiped the cards in California, Nevada and Florida, as well as Manhattan and Edison, N.J.

A 26-year-old Brooklyn dad ┬álabeled by prosecutors as a “primary fence” who bought the hot electronics.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Roper told a judge that the Brooklyn man was caught on surveillance tape handing over cash for “large bundles of items believed to be stolen electronic goods.”

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}