Feds Crackdown on Internet Crime, Charge More Than 130 Suspects


WASHINGTON - The Justice Department said more than 130 people have been charged with a variety of Internet crimes and scams, including identity theft and failing to deliver goods purchased online.

Federal law enforcers planned a news conference Friday to announce the crackdown on Internet fraud, dubbed Operation E-Con. In a news release, officials said more than 90 investigations nationwide involved 89,000 victims and losses estimated of at least $176 million.

The officials said about $17 million has been seized or recovered by investigators.

Investigators said the crimes included identity theft, or stealing the victim's personal information and using it to commit other crimes, such as credit card fraud.

Other alleged crimes included selling goods over the Internet that are never delivered to the purchaser, promoting investment frauds and pyramid schemes that quickly collapse and the illegal sale of copyright protected software, games and movies.

In one case, the suspects used an Internet web site to sell more than $2 million worth of pharmaceutical drugs without prescriptions or any doctor involvement with buyers of the drugs.

Some 400 victims allegedly lost about $3,000 each in a scheme that promised lonely men the hope of marrying a Russian woman.

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