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TORONTO - (06/24/04) -- Authorities said they have alreadyconvicted and sentenced the main suspect in a phony credit unionscam that siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars form victimsacross the U.S. over the past year. Leslie Card, 35, pleaded guiltyMonday to two counts of financial fraud and was sentenced to 18months in prison, His brother, Kevin Card, 33, also believedinvolve din the scam, is scheduled for trial on weapons and drugcharges June 30. But authorities don't expect the phony creditunion scam to stop. "No, this won't end it," Detective Jim White,of the Toronto Police, told The Credit Union Journal. "They're justpart of a bigger picture. It's too lucrative of an operation." Butthe Card's were apparently the main perpetrators in a scheme thatused stolen credit card information to buy ads in U.S. newspaperspurporting to sell debt consolidation, credit insurance andmortgage loan originations through phony credit unions, often withnames legitimate credit unions, like Heartland CU, Century CU,Credit Union One and America's Choice CU. The Heartland CU schemewas apparently the most lucrative, according to White, asauthorities have been able to trace about $295,000 (U.S.) in fundsraised from it. And that's with a 5% reporting rate, with as muchas 95% of these crimes unreported, he explained.

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