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Feds create task force to combat cyber crimes

Posted on June 09, 2014 10:00 AM EST

The Federal Bureau of Investigation along with other law enforcement agencies are targeting individuals involved in fraud schemes that are committed through the use of the internet. Specifically, the feds are investigating cases dealing with identity theft, the creation and distribution of counterfeit credit cards, and computer hacking. The Miami Cyber Crimes Task Force consists of local, state and federal investigative agencies that will combine efforts to combat the increasing wave of identity theft. Local banks and credit card companies are also assisting the law enforcement agencies in fraud investigations. The focus of the task force is not only to arrest and prosecute the local players, but also to take down the ringleaders that operate from overseas.

The task force arrested eight people considered cyber-crimes suspects last week in Atlanta and South Florida. The majority of those arrested were employees of AT&T working at call centers in Broward County. Those arrested are accused of stealing the identities of customers and personal account information and conspiring with others to use the information to file false cell phone insurance claims. The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and aggravated identity theft. Each of defendants charged will be facing sentences based on the federal sentencing guidelines which will be largely dependent on the amount of loss suffered by the victims. The judge can also stack a two year sentence on top of the guidelines as a result of the aggravated identity theft charge.

In a completely different case, the task force arrested a Hialeah man for stealing cable boxes and internet modems, illegally modifying them and selling them to unauthorized users. The set-top boxes and modems were altered to allow for service with no charges to the owner being incurred. Investigators say the boxes and modems were delivered to several addresses in the Miami area. According to the FBI, a UPS employee delivered the items to a third-thirty party who ultimately delivered them to the defendant for resale.

The task force also arrested a local man for selling and using fraudulent credit cards. Credit card fraud cases have become prevalent up and down the east and west coast of Florida. Anyone arrested for credit card fraud can be charged in either state of federal court. Typically, the jurisdiction where the case will be prosecuted will largely depend on the number of fraudulent credit cards confiscated and the amount of the loss suffered by the account holder or the lending institution.

The Miami Cyber Task Forces consists of the following law enforcement agencies: FBI, Miami-Dade Police Department, City of Miami Police Department, Davie Police Department, Bal Harbor Police Department, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud.