Credit cards are a normal part of day-to-day life, though from time to time, they result in wacky, bizarre and often comedic events. Here are seven of the most interesting and odd credit card stories seen in the news recently.
A 13-year-old in Newark, Texas, ordered an additional credit card from his father’s credit card company (he knew all the security questions), blew through $30,000 with his buddies and wound up in a motel room playing Xbox with two $1,000-a-night escort girls. According to Money.co.uk, the boy thought this was a normal way to celebrate winning a World of Warcraft tournament.
The boy told police his father wouldn’t mind, since his dad forgot to get him a present for his birthday the week before. When the escorts arrived, they thought the clients looked young. To allay their fears, the boys “told the suspicious working girls they were people of restricted growth working with a traveling circus, and as state law does not allow those with disabilities to be discriminated against they had no right to refuse them,” the article says. The escort girls were skeptical, so they played the popular video game “Halo” with the kids instead of …ahem… performing their usual duties. Police released the call girls without charge, and the boy was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three years of community service. I bet you can figure out what the boy’s future ambition is. Yep, you guessed it; he wants to be a politician (a la Elliot Spitzer?).
I’m all choked up
Latrell Sprewell, former NBA star, is probably regretting turning down a three-year, $21 million contract extension. (His reason for declining? “I’ve got my family to feed.”) Sprewell’s home was foreclosed on Monday and his $1.5 million yacht was auctioned off in January, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Sprewell is also facing two new judgments: One from a bank group for $72,698 for neglecting to pay his credit card bills, and one from the government for $72,102 for unpaid taxes. Documents filed against Sprewell can be viewed online, thanks to TMZ. According to the documents, Sprewell used to make $1.2 million a year, but his credit card bills have gone unpaid since Sept. 29, 2007. How does that happen!?
A high-stakes star
Just because you’re a top-earning actress doesn’t mean you’re immune to going broke. Gail O’Grady, Emmy-nominated “NYPD Blue” star is deep in debt, the National Enquirer reports. O’Grady is allegedly broke due to gambling problems and owes money to credit card companies, the IRS, her mortgage company, friends, family and colleagues. TMZ reports she also owes $160,000 to Caesars Palace and $75,000 to Bally’s casino and has filed for bankruptcy.
“O’Grady admits she took out the gambling loans, but claims the casinos knew her financial situation and knowingly threw caution to the wind,” TMZ reports. Wait, so it’s the casinos’ fault she owes them money? Give me a break. The Enquirer also reports that O’Grady was so addicted to gambling, “she flew to the Bahamas to get a second line of credit before the ink was dry on her second bankruptcy.” Oy vey!
Raising money from the grave
Actor Roy Scheider, famous for his roles in “Jaws,” “The French Connection,” “SeaQuest” and a variety of other films and television shows, passed away on Feb. 10, 2008. That didn’t stop him from donating to Barack Obama’s campaign, however (hat tip, TMZ). It turns out before his death, Scheider signed up for an automatic, $50-a-month credit card donation to the Obama campaign. When a donation from him came through on March 10, a month after his death, confusion ensued. A spokesman for the campaign said Scheider’s monthly donations would be stopped and his March donation would be donated to another cause.
Spice Girls reunion intended to retire debt (and Posh never sang!)
Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, recently revealed to the UK’s Daily Squib that not only did she lip sync during her entire stint in the Spice Girls, but the only reason she agreed to a Spice Girls reunion late last year was because the other girls in the group were riddled with debt. Beckham, who is now a professional clothes shopper, “admitted that she was never able to sing anyway and has never sung a note in her life,” the Squib reports. She told the Squib she was no longer in the music industry and is now in “the credit card fashion shopping industry.” Wait, there’s a credit card fashion shopping industry? How do I get in on that? She concluded: “I’m putting together a team of people who say ‘yes’ to everything I say. It will be my main project when I finish this sham tour.” Now that’s a good way to keep your fans.
Foiled by foil
Reports of identity theft are abundant, and methods to protect against it are vast. Apparently a Kentucky man was able to foil all high-tech data protection methods…with foil. The 27-year-old covered satellite dishes at nearby gas stations with aluminum foil “to interrupt signals and fraudulently charge merchandise to a Wal-Mart Visa gift card,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. His low-tech method apparently worked, but he found himself charged with several counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. Don’t get any ideas!