Thursday, February 17, 2011

Armenian gang: Raids targeting Armenian Power gang net 74 fraud suspects

Armenian gang: Raids targeting Armenian Power gang net 74 fraud suspects - latimes.com

U.S. prosecutors accused an Armenian organized crime gang of bilking victims out of an estimated $20 million in an audacious series of financial scams that included replacing the credit-card machines at more than a dozen 99 Cent-Only stores with their own scanners designed to steal customers' banking information.

The charges filed Wednesday against alleged members and associates of the Armenian Power gang included allegations of two kidnappings, theft of money from elderly bank customers, the smuggling of cellphones into state prisons, and trafficking in drugs and weapons. Seventy-four suspects were arrested in early-morning raids at about 90 locations throughout Southern California in an operation that involved nearly 1,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officials. Additional arrests were made in Miami and Denver.

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