Eighteen people have been charged in what may be one of the nation’s largest credit card fraud rings, a sprawling international scam that duped credit rating agencies and used thousands of fake identities to steal at least $200 million, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The elaborate scheme involved improving fake cardholders’ credit scores, allowing the scammers to borrow more money that they never repaid, said David Velazquez, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark, N.J., field office.
The U.S. attorney in Newark, Paul Fishman, described an intricate con that began in 2007 in Jersey City, operated in at least 28 states and wired money to Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Romania, China and Japan.
Cantor: Beef up gun buyer checks
The second-ranking House Republican said Tuesday he supports improving the federal background check system for gun buyers, but Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., stopped short of endorsing universal checks on all weapons purchases.
Cantor told CNN lawmakers could consider adopting a plan implemented by Virginia following the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. Since the shooting, the state has linked mental health information to law enforcement databases used to conduct background checks for gun purchases.
No trial delay in Trayvon Martin case
The murder trial for the Florida man charged in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin remains set for a June start after a judge Tuesday denied a defense request for a postponement.
George Zimmerman’s lead attorney Mark O’Mara presented a motion to have the trial pushed back to November. He argued that prosecutors had been slow to turn over needed evidence.
Report: Family and medical leave works
Two decades after Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, a new report shows the law is helping millions of workers cope with family hardships with little disruption to employers.
Just 16 percent of eligible workers took time off under the law last year to recover from an illness, care for a new child or tend to a sick relative, according to the Labor Department survey released on the law’s 20th anniversary.
At the same time, 85 percent of work sites covered by the law reported that compliance was “somewhat easy,” very easy,” or had “no noticeable effect.”
Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris said the report puts to rest fears raised two decades ago that the law would drive companies out of business and lead to rampant fraud and abuse.
Teens lose fingers in tug-of-war battle
A simple length of rope tore off the fingers of two California teenagers during a schoolyard tug-of-war staged to boost campus spirit.
The boy and girl had stable vital signs Tuesday after undergoing hours of surgery, but no information was disclosed on whether doctors reattached their fingers.
A get-well banner hung at the South El Monte High School campus, and counselors consoled students after the horrific start Monday to the traditional Spirit Week celebrating homecoming.