Greek charged with US credit card scam

An Athens prosecutor yesterday charged a 43-year-old Piraeus man in connection with an elaborate scam through which he allegedly stole the personal details of hundreds of US citizens, obtained credit cards in their names and withdrew at least $60,000. Officers from the Attica electronic crimes squad said the man had been engaged in the scam for the last 18 months, stealing information and then sending off applications for credit cards and traveler’s checks to banks in the US. The suspect, who has not been named, had rented several properties in the US, to which the banks sent the cards and checks. He then paid youths, mostly students, some $300 a week to collect the mail and forward it to a post box in Piraeus, officers said. Greek police were tipped off about the scam by the FBI and launched a three-month operation to track the suspect via the Internet. It is thought that he fraudulently obtained the details of at least 300 Americans and authorities believe that the final figure for the amount he allegedly stole could reach $355,000. The suspect had served a year in jail in the US after being arrested in Houston, Texas, in 1987 for credit card fraud. He was then deported to Greece.

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