The FBI has arrested four members of an alleged crime ring that hired hundreds of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to defraud banks and credit card companies out of more than $80 million.
According to local press reports, investigators say the Denver-based gang ran a "bust out" scheme, using the name and credit line of a business to get loans and rack up purchases on credit cards - with no intention of repaying.
The group is accused of recruiting around 700 "straw buyers" - mostly young students from former Soviet republics in the US on visas - for the scheme.
JP Morgan Chase, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and Bank of America were among the banks hit by the scam.
The four arrests were made on Friday after a series of raids in Denver with two - Natallia Vishnevskaya, 26, and Nadezda Nikitina, 23, - making an appearance in court charged with bank fraud and submitting a false and fraudulent application.
Bank-fraud scam alleged in Denver and Aurora - Denver Post