It has been called the largest and most sophisticated identity theft case ever seen in the U.S., according to Queens (N.Y.) District Attorney Richard Brown.
Amar Singh, 33, and wife Neha Punjani-Singh, 30, pleaded guilty last month to identity theft and enterprise corruption charges in a case involving their roles in a $13 million scam. The two were part of a group of 111 people who were arrested last October for taking part in an operation that netted the millions between July and September 2011.
Court documents posted by Wired magazine cite Singh as one of four bosses of the criminal enterprise. They would receive information about unknown people from various foreign countries, such as Russia and China, as well as via statewide suppliers — who would use a skimming device to swipe consumer credit card information at retail or food establishments — and illegal identification-gathering websites, according to the court documents.
Singh and his cohorts would then employ "shoppers" who were sent out on shopping sprees around the U.S. with counterfeit credit and I.D. cards manufactured using the stolen information. Shoppers allegedly used the fraudulent cards to stay at five-star hotels, rent high-end cars, and even a private jet.
According to the New York Post, Singh was reprimanded in court by the judge, who told him: "You are a huge criminal. A rip-off artist extraordinary."
Singh, who faced up to 250 years in prison, was only sentenced to 5 1/3 to 10 2/3 years in prison for the charges. His wife, Punjani-Singh, pleaded guilty to petty larceny and was dismissed with a conditional discharge sentence.
Earlier this year, the FTC estimated that identity theft cost Americans around $1.52 billion in 2011.
Just last week it was reported that the IRS might have delivered $5 billion in refunds to identity thieves.
Take a look at some of the wild things other people have done for money: