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Criminal Charges: Volume XIX — Female fraudsters

Jeremy Simon

Although men may be responsible for the bulk of the world’s crime, women have their own share of lawbreakers.

It this edition of Criminal Charges, we have a collection of female credit card criminals, including fraudsters who stole credit cards by drugging men and abducting them from bars, a spandex-clad thief who enjoyed the plastic fruits of a car burglary, a worker who swiped money from a sewer authority and a mother who falsely opened a credit card in her son’s name while he was serving in the Marines.

Sixth Street she-devils
Meeting girls in a bar, losing track of your friends and waking up the next day with fuzzy memories and unexpected credit card charges may sound like an average night out for some readers, but it also describes a recent string of crimes that took place in CreditCards.com’s hometown.

Police in Austin, Texas, are looking for a group of four women who apparently drugged men in order to abduct them from the city’s Sixth Street bar area and then steal their credit cards. Detectives tell KEYETV.com that “the victims in these cases claim the suspects possibly drugged them in order to obtain control of them during the incidents” and separate the men from their friends.

The victims “told police they would wake up in the morning with little to no memory of the previous night except being taken from the Sixth Street area in a van or utility vehicle with three or four females,” KEYE reports. Additionally, the men would discover their wallets had been combed through and high-dollar unauthorized transactions made to their credit cards and/or debit cards. At least they still had their all their internal organs.

Spandex and stolen plastic
While her first infraction may have been wearing spandex, authorities are seeking a Florida woman for fraudulently using a credit card.

pasco-county-car-burglary-suspect.jpgCrime Stoppers of Tampa Bay, Fla., (hat tip: Tampa Bay Online, which made note of her attire in its headline) is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect, who made purchases on Nov. 25 at a Sweetbay Supermarket and a Wal-Mart using a credit card stolen during a car burglary.

According to Crime Stoppers, “The suspect is described as a black female, 30s, weighing 300-plus pounds, black long, straight hair, last seen wearing a black nylon jacket with white stripes on the sleeves, a black T-shirt with a large, white “G” on the front, black spandex pants, white sneakers and carrying a large, brown Coach purse.”

It came from the sewers …
Something may stink in this next item — but this time it isn’t my writing.

Prosecutors say that Tracy Connelly stole more than $150,000 from her employer, the Conshohocken Sewer Authority in suburban Philadelphia, to take care of some personal expenses. CBS 3 reports Connelly allegedly swiped the funds to in order to cover her rent and a car loan, support a New Jersey rental property and make unauthorized credit card purchases.

Connelly was arraigned on Dec. 5 on “hundreds of counts, including identity theft, forgery and unlawful use of a computer,” the Web site reports. At least the C.H.U.D. didn’t steal!

No ‘Mother of the Year’ award for her
Some people just shouldn’t have children. Take Rhonda Rhane Wangen of Canton, Minn., who stands accused of fraudulently opening a credit card in her son’s name while he was away serving in the Marines.

Wangen was scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Dec. 8 to face fraud and theft charges after allegedly running up nearly $7,000 in unauthorized purchases and fees. “According to the criminal complaint, Wangen’s son became aware of the alleged fraud when he tried to buy an engagement ring in February. He was denied credit and found out that someone had taken out a credit card in his name,” the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports. That someone, authorities say, was his mom.

According to the paper, “When he called his mother, she told him she had applied for the card and was sorry. Her son canceled the card and discovered that his mother had been using his checking account to make payments.” Wangen told a deputy that she took out the credit card while her son was deployed to Afghanistan with the power of attorney she had to make payments for her grandson while her son was abroad.

In fact, her son was in Hawaii waiting to head to Iraq when his mother applied online for the credit card in November 2006. “She continued to use the card while her son was deployed and also let his sister use the card,” the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports. “Her son says none of the purchases were for him.” Authorities say that from Nov. 9, 2006, to Sept. 8, 2008, $6,918 in unauthorized purchases, late fees and charges were made on the card.

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