THE BRONX - Police arrested 18 suspects Wednesday who allegedly operated an identity theft and bank fraud ring that affected hundreds of victims.

Police say the suspects made more than 1,000 counterfeit checks inside Bronx apartments since December 2007. According to authorities, the suspects recruited bank tellers around New York City who stole personal information by photocopying checks. Police believe the bank tellers who participated were paid in cash.

The suspects used the photocopies to produce counterfeit checks, which they then deposited for millions of dollars in banks throughout the city, police say. Among the hundreds of victims were Montefiore Medical Center, the New York City Department of Education, the NYPD, Diane von Furstenberg and many individuals.

Assistant district attorney Antonia Merzon says the identity theft ring is one of the biggest the office has seen. Police investigated the scam for more than nine months before making arrests. The 18 suspects were indicted on 227 counts and if convicted, they could serve up to 30 years behind bars.