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The scheme shocked prosecutors, with Annette Williams calling it the most brazen.
As the crime ring operated, they began to get more sophisticated and relied on prepaid cards to move money, instead of e-mules.
"It would all start where they would purchase compromised credit card data. They would create thousands of American Express Serve prepaid accounts.
Once they were able to acquire those accounts, that in turn would become their infrastructure that they needed to be able to move their illicit proceeds," said Todd Williams.
The theme of the event was Towards a Globally-binding Instrument on Marine Biological Diversity in Areas beyond National Jurisdictions”.
Now they use more refined scams to rake in millions.
"He asked me about my family and I asked him about his. "They had no jobs, they had no source of income other than these scams."At the same time, victims in the U. Twelve pleaded guilty and were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
And in the end, they were spending their own money to purchase their own merchandise back," said Todd Williams, the Homeland Security agent.
For the textbook scam, the group targeted family owned businesses and many went out of business.
"We were able to identify that they would not be able to stay open for more than just a few months before they'd have to shut down their business," the agent said.
While other West African crime rings exist and often use these romance ploys, this ring also had two scams that were unique, one involving college textbooks, the other prepaid credit cards.
"They not only would purchase the textbooks with compromised credit cards, but in most instances, within 48-72 hours from purchasing the textbooks, they would actually sell the textbooks back to the same textbook company online that they stole the books from.