US authorities have raided the house of two foreign exchange students suspected of involvement in a Vietnam-based crime ring that uses stolen credit card numbers, eBay and PayPal to con retailers out of millions of dollars.
According to an affidavit filed supporting a search warrant request, Winona State University students Tram Vo and Khoi Van are suspected of participation in the scam that has hit Amazon, Apple and Rosetta Stone among others.
The pair are accused of setting up over 150 eBay, and more than 300 PayPal, accounts using stolen identities. The accounts were used to sell items such as video games and iTunes gift cards worth over $1.2 million on the auction site.
To obtain the items they were selling, the men are alleged to have bought them directly from manufacturers using stolen credit card details, shipping the goods directly to the eBay buyers.
The stolen funds were then transferred from PayPal to dozens of bank accounts with outfits such as Wells Fargo and HSBC before being moved on to Vietnam and Canada.
The affidavit, connecting Vo and Van to identity theft, money laundering and wire fraud is related to a US Department of Homeland Security investigation dubbed Operation eMule that has been running since 2009.
According to local press reports the search warrant was issued and computers seized from the men but charges have yet to be laid.