Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Organized Crime Ring that Specialized in Counterfeiting, Credit Card Fraud, and Identity Theft is Busted

Teams of FBI Agents and Metro Detectives fanned out all over town early Monday morning to round up more than 20 suspects believed to be part of a Eurasian organized crime ring that specialized in counterfeiting, credit card fraud, and identity theft.

No one from law enforcement will comment on the record about the operation just yet, but the I-Team first learned back in July that a taskforce was focusing in on the suspected mobsters.

Today the hammer came down. A steady stream of handcuffed suspects were led into jail facilities around the valley.

An unassuming home on Peppermill Drive in Las Vegas was one of the first locations to be searched. The house owned by a local realtor named Gary Ambart-Sumyan. A man fitting his description was led out of the home and was transported to a Metro Police location.

Sources say that inside the home, agents found an unusual assortment of computers that might have been used in identity thefts and the creation of stolen or phony credit cards and debit cards.

At least three suspects were already in custody when the warrants began being served, including two in southern California.

Law enforcement sources say the suspects are Albanians, Bulgarians, Armenians and Russians, many of whom live in California but carry out their dirty work in Las Vegas, sometimes stealing as much as a million dollars a week, according to one well-placed source, ripping off local casinos and businesses with bogus and/or stolen cards and identities.

A law enforcement source close to the investigation said the influx of Eurasian gangsters, especially eastern Europeans, into Las Vegas has been dramatic in recent years and that their financial impact is "overwhelming."

The official also said these new organized crime groups are different from the traditional mafia, loyal only to money, not to any family.

A total of 23 suspects are named in a criminal complaint that will be unveiled Tuesday. Nearly all of them were in custody by 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.

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