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New York– Authorities say a crafty group of people ran an ID theft operation, buying at least a million dollars worth of iPads and other Apple products on their victims tab- sometimes even run from behind bars.

The scam was so successful that one member branched off to start his own syndicate, and the original ringleader taught his girlfriend how to keep the scheme going while he was in jail, authorities said as they detailed the scheme Wednesday. Arrests of the 27 suspects began Tuesday and were continuing.

At the heart of the “S3” group was Shaheed Bilal, 28, who enlisted his girlfriend, Ophelia Alleyne, and his brothers, Ali, 23, Isaac, 25, and Rahim, 21, to help oversee the scheme, authorities said.

Shaheed and Isaac Bilal at point used the social networking site Twitter to trumpet an online video of themselves bragging about using forged credit cards at a restaurant, authorities said. Bilal’s Twitter accounts and the video have apparently been removed.

Shaheed Bilal was so enmeshed in the scheme that while jailed in an unrelated case from May to December 2010, he told Alleyne from jail how to run the scam, authorities said. And when Bilal was released, he got back into business with a new e-mail handle: “rightbackonit,” authorities said.

NBCnewyork.com

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