A federal grand jury indicted three people Monday for allegedly using counterfeit credit cards to ring up millions of dollars in fraudulent purchases in the United States and Canada between 1998 and 2001.
The case “may be one of the largest counterfeit credit card rings ever discovered in North America,” said Paul Morrissey, special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s San Francisco field office.
Prosecutors said the suspects stole credit card numbers and used the accounts to make purchases in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and the Canadian cities of Calgary and Vancouver between 1998 and 2001.
Raids in Oakland, Calif., and Vancouver turned up thousands of phony cards and equipment needed to make them, authorities said.
Investigators also allegedly found thousands of stolen account numbers from American Express, CitiBank, Wells Fargo, Capitol One Bank, and the Portland (Ore.) Teachers Credit Union.
The suspects were identified as Sun Keung Lee, 44, of Vancouver, British Columbia; Eva Yok Yau Eng, 54, of Lafayette, Calif.; and Sandy Ru Zhong, 41, of San Lorenzo, Calif.
Each was charged with conspiring to produce, use, and traffic in counterfeit access devices.
Zhong and Eng was released on bond. Federal prosecutors say Lee, who remains a fugitive, led the scheme. Each faces up to five years imprisonment and financial penalties.
The suspects could not immediately be reached for comment.