A court heard how a gang was so successful at committing frauds against an auction house in Northumbria that it turned its attention to a New York sale held by the auction house.
Auctioneers across the country were targeted by fraudsters using false identities to register as telephone bidders.
Stolen credit card details were also used to obtain watches and expensive jewellery.
In October 2010, the jury heard, Railton's Auction House, in Alnwick, Northumbria, was contacted by an Alistair Goldsmith - one false name used - where a successful bid was made for jewellery worth £20,000.
When he said he wanted to have the items collected the following day, the company became suspicious.
Suspicions were further raised after a passport and a driving licence details were supplied by "Mr Goldsmith", Mr Shellard said and, fortunately, the auction house did not fall victim to the fraud.
A Northumbria police officer has been charged with keeping a brothel, misconduct in a public office and a drugs offence, his employers have said.
Northumbria Police Constable Philip Tate, 37, faces nine charges and has appeared before Newcastle Crown Court after being charged on May 28.
He faces five counts of misconduct in a public office, one of supplying a class C drug, one of money laundering, one of keeping a brothel and one offence under the Consumer Credit Act, a spokesman for the force said.
At a preliminary hearing held previously, Tate and two co-accused were granted bail.
The PC, currently suspended, will appear before the same court in October for a plea and case management hearing
"As the case is currently going through the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
Teenagers have been tampering with their own passports in a desperate bid to get served alcohol in clubs and bars.
Northumbria Police have said they have now seized a number of passports and driving licences as they crackdown on the trend in Tyne and Wear.
Officers have warned that anyone found with forged documents faces arrest and prosecution.
Using ID with false information is a serious offence. Anyone caught could find themselves arrested and even end up with a criminal record, which could affect their future before they have even finished school or college.
– Insp Mick Hall, Northumbria Police
Bar, club and shop owners say they have been shown documents in recent months that have had dates of birth obviously changed. All altered documents and passports seized by police will now be cut up and sent to the Passport Office or relevant agencies to be destroyed.