YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Authorities said they expect to find an enormous number of victims of a multi-million-dollar ID theft and fraud ring that used a Hackensack apartment to produce bogus credit cards, corporate checks, gift cards and driver’s licenses from various states using stolen identities, authorities said today.
Investigators said they discovered what is believed to be the largest operation of its kind ever in New Jersey the accused ringleader was pulled over Friday night and a huge number of credit cards were spotted in his Range Rover.
Keith Morris — who also uses the names Robert Smalls and Brian Luv — has previous arrests and convictions for dozens of fraud offenses from Las Vegas to New York, records show.
Morris, 48 ( above and right ), was in the process of moving thousands of bogus cards, checks and the equipment used to make them from an Overlook Avenue high-rise in Hackensack to an apartment he keeps in Clifton, authorities said during a news conference this afternoon at city police headquarters.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the Hackensack unit, which city police Director Michael Mordaga said served as the production facility for the New York City-based ring.
“They stole an enormous amount of information from victims that they then used to make the credit cards, driver’s licenses, fake checks, gift cards, corporate checks,” Mordaga told CLIFFVIEW PILOT before the news conference. “They even had different-colored backdrops that matched the state for the driver’s licenses they were making.”
Among the seized items displayed this afternoon were several boxes of blank credit and gift cards, embossing machines, printers, thumb drives, hard drives and computer towers, as well as a counterfeit detection scanner, the 2011 “ID Checking Guide, U.S. & Canada,” copies of American Gangsters and F.E.D.S magazines and and the movie “American Gangster” on DVD.
Mordaga said he immediately alerted the U.S. Secret Service, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and NYPD, all of whom are participating in the ongoing investigation.
“It’s a huge operation,” Mordaga said. “The bulk of the activity is taking place in New York City. They were using this apartment as their plant.”
Forensic experts are examining the computers and hard drives seized, which Mordaga said is expected to yield “numerous additional charges” with possible worldwide implications.
They were awaiting a search warrant to review those, as well as thousands of documents.
Morris, who also has addresses in Brooklyn, remained held on $1 million in the Bergen County Jail. He is facilitating fraud and possessing and manufacturing falsely embossed credit cards.
PHOTOS, REPORTING: Stephanie Schwartz
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.