Authorities used $7 million worth of gold to lure an alleged identity thief from Russia to New York.
What’s Russian for cojones?
Because if the allegations made against him prove true, then 24-year-old Igor Klopov has got a huge set of them. According to an indictment released Thursday, Klopov was the mastermind of a four-man identity theft ring that targeted, among others, Robert Pritzger, the president of TransUnion Credit, a company that maintains the sensitive credit information of more than 500 million people worldwide.
If identity thieves feel comfortable going after credit companies chiefs then it’s no wonder that identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S.
It wasn’t just the TransUnion honcho, Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau said, Klopov consistently aimed high, using the Forbes 400 Richest American list to identify potential marks like Pritzker (No. 181).
Klopov had eluded authorities by conducting most of his contact with his cronies by IM and email, but he was finally nailed, according to the DA, when he traveled to New York posing as Texas billionaire Charles J. Wyly Jr., a big supporter of President George W. Bush. He was looking to pick up $7 million worth of gold.
But the guy who had the gold for Klopov wasn’t an identity thief. He was undercover NYPD detective. And Klopov was busted when he touched down on American soil.
The press release from the Manhattan DA has more of the details.
We’re looking to write more about identity theft in these parts. My sister had it happen to her. And Don, one of our genius computer guys here at the Voice, just found out two weeks ago that someone had stolen some of his personal information. Luckily, his mother stumbled across his credit card data while doing a random Google search of his telephone number. That site, which has the motto ” G3T RICH OR DI3 RYING,” is still live, even after the FBI was notified.
So if you have a story about identity theft, please share it. This is an issue we are looking to revisit.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 16, 2007