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ID Theft Ring Busted; Hundreds of Phony Credit Cards Seized

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) -- Identity thieves using real names and credit card numbers they got off the Internet created hundreds of phony cards and fraudulent lines of credit with stores to steal thousands of dollars in merchandise, police said Friday.

The ring's alleged leader, Jian Ping Wang of Frederick, was jailed and charged with multiple counts of credit card counterfeiting and illegally possessing equipment to produce credit cards. He had no attorney as of Friday, a court clerk said.

Police arrested Wang, 38, an illegal immigrant from China, in Baltimore County on Wednesday and found more than 200 phony credit cards in his car, according to Frederick County police. Wang said he was going to New York to sell the cards, according to court documents.

A search of his home yielded more than 200 credit card blanks and equipment for making fake cards and driver's licenses, according to officials.

"There are probably at least 100 victims that may not even know that their identities have been stolen," said Deputy Jennifer Bailey, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.

Frederick County authorities obtained a warrant for another suspect, Jackson T. Tiong, 45, of Shepherdstown, Bailey said.

Secret Service Agent Jeff Gappert said four other suspected accomplices were arrested in October in Frederick County. They were "runners" who used the fake credit cards to buy merchandise that would typically be sold for cash, he said.

Gappert did not say how or where the ring obtained the real names and account numbers on the Internet.

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