The Criminal Court, presided by Judge Mit’ib Al-Ardhi has sentenced 12 men to 10 years in jail with hard labor and fined them KD 198,000 each, reports Al-Anba daily.

The court also acquitted one man, citing lack of evidence, and another to two-year imprisonment for forging Visa, MasterCard and other credit cards. According to case papers the men — believed to be members of an organized local and international gang — involved in money laundering activities.

The modus operandi was to steal the credit card numbers, reproduce fake credit cards and use them to deposit funds derived from illegal sources using special devices imported from outside the country to reproduce those cards in the names of dead or fictitious people and in some cases in the names of original card holders.

After reproduction of the fake credit cards, the network would then liquidate the funds through payments across several companies involved in different activities inside the country in agreement with them in return for monetary gains.

The gang received money in cash and transferred it through the local exchange companies to different countries around the world.

The network is said to have reproduced more than 100 credit cards for amounts exceeding one million dollars by using sophisticated devices for the transfer of data of the stolen and counterfeit credit cards and deposited illicit funds through fraudulent manners in an accurate and professional manner. The gang comprises two citizens and expats who do business online and travel agencies linked with the mafia outside Kuwait that mostly depends on stolen credit cards.-A.T.

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