Summit County authorities indict 4 in identity theft ring

MACEDONIA, Ohio – Four men, accused in a complex identity theft ring, are named as defendants in an indictment announced on Thursday by Macedonia police.

The 84-count indictment lists various counts against Ming Chun Shi, Hue Dong Dong, Wen Fei Shi and Yu Liu, including forgery, identity theft and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The corrupt activity charge is the most serious count, a felony of the second degree.

“It’s really kind of reserved for organized criminal activity, and under Ohio law, this qualified to have them indicted under that because they did go to so many places. They did commit this crime over and over again,” said Macedonia Lt. Vince Yakopovich.

Detectives from Macedonia, Akron, Medina, Hudson and Montville Township said at least 65 people were victimized, many of them from Northeast Ohio.

The suspects posted $10,000 bonds after their arrests in December, but will now be ordered to turn themselves in to face the new charges in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

Detectives explained the crooks got a hold of blank cards and then embossed stolen credit card numbers on them.

Stolen identity information was also “burned” into the magnetic strips of the cards.

Police seized more than $12,000 in gift cards, along with thousands in cash, after the men were arrested outside of a store In Macedonia.

Ting Wu, 40, of Hudson, said one of the men was captured on a surveillance camera at a Macy’s in Youngstown buying a $500 gift card with one of the fake cards.

“I’m just curious. How did they get my information?” Wu said. “I want them to be put in jail.”

The case broke wide open last December after police said the suspects stole the credit card information of a Montville Township Police lieutenant.

Lt. Matt Neil got word from his credit card company that his account had been compromised, so he did what he’s trained to do.

“I opened up a criminal investigation,” Neil said. He got surveillance images of the suspects, posted them on social media, and got an immediate response.

The next day, the suspects were arrested after police received a tip that they were at an Office Max in Macedonia.

The suspects are believed to be from New York and Neil thinks they are part of a larger criminal enterprise. Police believe  the same group used the stolen credit card information at other stores in Chagrin Falls, Rocky River, Northfield Center, Stow, Copley, Kent, Bainbridge, Streetsboro, Brunswick, Cleveland and Akron.

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