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