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Criminal Charges: The parade of card crime rolls on

Jeremy Simon

As you recover from the long Labor Day weekend, this week’s list of credit card crimes has gems involving corrupt government officials, a cab ride that turned really ugly and doll-loving card thieves.

  • criminal chargesIn England, former London deputy mayor Ian Clement was charged Aug. 4 with fraud in connection with alleged misuse of a corporate credit card, The Guardian reports. Clement resigned from his post in June following allegations about his card use.
  • Also in the U.K., the Morning Star reports former anti-terrorist officer Matthew Washington — who improperly used a credit card meant for work-related expenses — has walked free from court. Washington, who was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for a year, made charges with the plastic for clothes from his favorite retailer and “sexual accoutrements” at an adult toy store.
  • Talk about bold: Thomas D. Hillibrush of Mahanoy City, Pa., has been charged with entering the home and stealing the credit card of a woman who had left her front door open while bringing in groceries. According to the Republican Herald, when she went to retrieve her purse from a couch after carrying in the purchases, the woman noticed her missing was wallet. The wallet had contained $20, an ATM card, three credit cards, a driver’s license and a Social Security card. Police say the woman informed them two hours later that her bank said the card had been used for a purchase.
  • The Manhattan District Attorney announced Aug. 31 the indictment of five Eastern European men in connection with a multinational, Internet-based fraud operation known as the Western Express Cybercrime Group. The group was allegedly responsible for mre than $4 million worth of credit card fraud and trafficking in more than 95,000 stolen credit card numbers.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff received $30,000 in donations from the company behind Google Money Tree, a program federal regulators and state authorities in Utah and Texas say ran an unlawful scam. Google Money Tree — which has no affiliation with the popular search engine — advertised a program enabling participants to earn thousands of dollars working from home, but it instead resulted, in some cases, in monthly service charges of $72.21 on participants’ credit cards. Federal lawyers say those charges were not made clear in the company’s service agreements.
  • The Contra Costa Times reports that the Council on American-Islamic relations is asking authorities to pursue hate crimes charges against Michael Goldstein and Jacob Billingsley after the San Ramon Valley, Calif., men allegedly assaulted a cab driver following a dispute over payment by credit card. Police say the men attacked taxi driver Jaswinder Bangar after a heated argument over whether they could pay their cab fare with plastic escalated into ethnic slurs and eventually violence.
  • Nowadays, criminals get started so young. Cleveland.com reports that while police were investigating a “suspicious Webkinz doll” sent to a family’s address, the parents of a 9-year-old girl suspected that she may have ordered the stuffed animal using her parents’ credit card.

Until next week…

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