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Criminal Charges: Volume VIII

Jeremy Simon

By my wishful math, two times the crime should equal two times the excitement: This week’s roundup of credit card infractions doubles up, with either criminal pairs or individual law breakers that cause twice the trouble on their own.

Off we go.

Duo provides stolen customer information for unauthorized credit card accounts
Two Indianapolis investment company employees allegedly used their access to customer data to steal private information, which was then used to open credit card accounts.

“Nyteria Redding and Raquel Vaughn are accused of grabbing customer information like names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth from their employer’s computers, and passing it to Redding’s boyfriend, one Nathan Green,” Wired.com reports. “Green then allegedly paid lackeys to fill out credit card applications using the information — changing the addresses to abandoned houses with accessible mailboxes.”

Green earned plenty of green from the scam — federal prosecutors in South Bend say he accumulated a total credit line of over $1.4 million from 129 credit cards. Based on his proportion of card balances to that massive credit line, you have to wonder what Green’s FICO score would have been.

“In all, 581 customers of the unnamed investment firm had their information stolen from August 2005 through March 2006. Seven people were indicted” for identity theft and conspiracy, Wired says.

Cracked Crab broken into, defrauded by former worker
A former employee of the Cracked Crab eatery in Cave Creek, Ariz., was charged with burglarizing the restaurant in the wee hours on Sept. 13.

Angela Burke was already under investigation for credit card fraud against the Cracked Crab’s owner, Bob Haas, when she was pinched for possession of stolen property and providing false information to a police officer in connection with the burglary. According to Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office Sgt. Joe Dietrich, Burke was set to be charged last week with theft for the illegal credit card charges, SonoranNews.com reports.

“Concerning the credit-card theft, Dietrich said Burke’s story about how she was using Haas’ credit card to get paid for tips did not hold up during interviews with other Cracked Crab employees and those close to the restaurant’s operation,” Sonoran News says.

“We realized it qualified for theft because she was using the credit card for personal gain,” Dietrich tells Sonoran News. That’s generally how it works.

If the credit card troubles weren’t enough, the restaurant’s owner says the Crab has been burglarized three times in three weeks.

Plastic divides couple
A Westport, Conn., man apparently had enough of his ex-girlfriend’s credit card abuse.

Michael Smith showed up at her house and kicked off quite a ruckus. “Police responded to a report of an unwanted person yelling and screaming,” the Westport Minuteman reports. “The victim said that Smith is an ex-boyfriend and that he arrived unannounced and began yelling at her.”

Police had previously warned him to stay away from the house, so why would he do such a thing? Smith blamed his outburst on unauthorized card usage, telling police “he went to the victim’s residence to confront the victim on fraudulent charges made on a company credit card,” according to the Minuteman.

While we could use a few more credit card crime watchdogs, vigilante justice is never in order, Michael.

Canadian pair spent quality time scamming consumers
For those of you saddened by the last story, take heart: Sometimes crime can bring a couple closer together.

Canadian couple Adesoji and Simone Shittu of Etobicoke, Ont., may have bonded over their shared interest, but it also led to their downfall. The Shittus were arrested last week in connection with a counterfeit check scam that allegedly defrauded more than a thousand people across North America for upward of $2.1 million in Canadian dollars.

Victims received the fake checks in the mail — disguised as lottery winnings or investment offers — with instructions to cash them and wire the bulk of the money to a phony company, the Ontario Provincial Police tell The Toronto Star. Victims were left on the hook for the missing money when the bank realized the checks weren’t real.

The Star says that last Tuesday, a police raid led to the seizure of counterfeit checks, computers and credit card information. Among the various charges, they were each booked for the matching crimes of fraud over $5,000 and possession of credit card data. Everyone together now: Awwwww.

***

My vacationing colleague Matt Schulz had his blog “You are your own best credit repair company” included in the Celebrate Fall Edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted by Sound Money Matters. Good going, Matt!

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  • Citibank regularly engages in fraud, yet no one takes action against them.
    My wife has regularly paid her bills diligently, yet she began getting interest charges and late fees from Citicard.
    We checked, they had reduced her grace period and had notified her through a monthly statement. She always pays early, but they also do NOT process the mail “internally” for at least 3 days so no effectively she had 16 days for a grace period.
    fraud fraud fraud fraud