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Major Ring of Identity Thieves Uncovered, Arrested

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Aired 4/19/09

A major identity-theft ring is busted. Four people were arrested in Vista today. Law enforcement uncovered a phony company that allegedly ripped off personal information from its customers. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps has the story.

Police say the bogus company was First Choice Mortgage. By posing as a legitimate business, First Choice had access to credit reports and reams of personal information. When customers signed up, police say First Choice used their identities to get credit cards and buy merchandise. The suspects allegedly hit up at least 100 companies in San Diego and Orange County.

Sheriff's Captain Glenn Revell says law enforcement is tracking a new wave of criminals -- and how they do business.

Revell : We may not win every fight with them immediately, but we will. We will track you down; we will find you. And as they get more sophisticated, we get more sophisticated. As they get more comprehensive, we get more comprehensive.

Revell anticipates losses totaling as much as $1 million. Anyone who did business with First Choice Mortgage should call the police immediately. For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

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