By  on November 20, 2011

Authorities have broken up an identity-theft ring that allegedly recruited waiters in upscale restaurants to steal diners’ credit card information, which was later used to buy luxury goods from stores such as Chanel, Cartier and Neiman Marcus.

Following an 18-month investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office, as well as the New York Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service, 28 people have been indicted for racketeering and other charges. The accused were said to have either kept their designer purchases for personal use or sold them for profit. The arrests were the culmination of video and physical surveillance, eavesdropping, computer forensics and extensive analysis of credit card, banking and phone records. In addition to Chanel, Cartier and Neiman Marcus, they bought goods from Hermès, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Lord & Taylor, London Jewelers, Waldmann’s and Starbucks. Shopping trips took place in New York, Boston, Chicago and Florida.

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