Feds Bust Online Counterfeit Credit Card Operation
Federal authorities have arrested three Florida men for running a major online operation that printed and sold fake credit cards and debit cards that resulted in an estimated $34.5 million in fraud losses.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service took control of the website, FakePlastic.net, on December 5, but made an additional 30 “controlled” deliveries of orders. This resulted in the arrests of 11 alleged customers.
Sean Robertson, 39, of Palm Bay is charged with running the site, and is booked on conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods or services, and conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with authentication features. His two conspirators, Vinicio Gonzalez, 30, and Hugo Rebaza, 31, are charged with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud.
The business began in April 2011, and the website was launched in June 2012. During that time, the business filled orders for approximately 69,000 counterfeit cards, 35,000 holographic stickers to make the cards appear more realistic, and 30,000 state identification cards with holographic overlays. Over 3,600 parcels were shipped via the United States postal service.
The site had over 400 members at the time the business was seized, and customers paid for the counterfeit merchandise through digital currency.
The FakePlastic.net site was used by criminals known as “carding” or “cash out” crews. These crews buy stolen card numbers which are typically obtained through a hacking or skimming operation, such as installing a specialized skimmer in an ATM machine or point-of-sale terminal. The stolen data is then imprinted on a blank card and used to make unauthorized transactions on the accounts of unsuspecting card customers.