NEWARK, N.J. -- Eighteen people have been charged in what may be one of the nation's largest credit card fraud rings, an international scam that duped credit rating agencies and used thousands of fake identities to steal at least $200 million, federal authorities said Tuesday.The scheme involved improving fake cardholders' credit scores, allowing the scammers to borrow more money that they never repaid, investigators said."The accused availed themselves of a virtual cafeteria of sophisticated frauds and schemes, whose main menu items were greed and deceit," said David Velazquez, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Newark office.The U.S. attorney in Newark, Paul Fishman, described an intricate Jersey City-based con that began in 2007, operated in at least 28 states and wired money to Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Romania, China and Japan.The group used at least 7,000 fake identities to obtain more than 25,000 credit cards, Fishman said. Investigators documented $200 million in losses, but the figure could rise.Participants set up more than 1,800 mailing addresses, creating fake utility bills and other documents to provide credit card companies with what appeared to be legitimate addresses, investigators said. Once they obtained the cards, they started making small charges and paying off the cards to raise their credit limits, authorities said.They sent fake reports to credit-rating agencies, making it appear that cardholders had paid off debts, setting the stage for sterling credit ratings and high credit limits, investigators said.Once the limits were raised, Fishman said, participants would take out loans or max out the cards and not repay the debts.The group also created at least 80 sham businesses that accepted credit card payments, Fishman said. The group would run the fraudulently obtained cards through the machines, keeping the money, he said.In one example, prosecutors allege that a defendant used a 6-year-old boy's Social Security number to obtain a fake utility bill used to open credit card accounts.The scheme funded a lavish lifestyle for the accused, including spa treatments, electronics, luxury cars and millions of dollars in gold, Fishman said. One raid found $78,000 stashed in an oven.Authorities say one man withdrew and wired $1.5 million from personal accounts despite not having a job.