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Criminal Charges: Volume XII

Jeremy Simon

It’s time for another collection of tales of credit card offenses. This week, stories in the spotlight feature forged doctor’s notes, unauthorized purchases of bubble gum and socks and indications that crooks love libraries and college.

Disqualified from employee of the month competition
A Reeseville, Wis., woman apparently decided to show up for work only in order to steal from her employer.

According a criminal complaint, Nicole Fitzsimmons had only worked for Kunkel Engineering Group in Beaver Dam, Wis., for one week in July and again in August before getting fired for sporadic attendance. By September, her employer had yet another reason to take Fitzsimmons out of the running for employee of the month: Kunkel Engineering reported that she had used a company credit card to buy a laptop computer, printer, camera and supplies from Staples.

Fitzsimmons had evidently lined up an excuse in the form of doctor’s notes explaining her absence. “An investigator found two letters allegedly signed by Dr. Deborah Derby of an outpatient psychiatric clinic in Madison,” reports the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen Online. “The first letter asserted that Fitzsimmons had recently been treated by Derby, and that Fitzsimmons would be able to return to work after an absence. The second letter excused Fitzsimmons for being late for work because of an unscheduled, necessary appointment, according to the complaint.” Unfortunately for Fitzsimmons, Dr. Derby denied ever providing her with treatment.

“Fitzsimmons reportedly told the investigator that she had signed the letters herself and had also used the Kunkel Engineering Group credit card to make numerous purchases,” the paper reports.

There was no word on whether Fitzsimmons claimed her treatment was for credit card shopping addiction.

Unauthorized purchases of bubble gum, socks and food
Some criminals aim high, like Lisa Farel, a former employee at the Rock Valley Federal Credit Union in Rockford, Ill., who the Rockford Register Star reports has been charged with stealing more than $1 million dollars over 15 years by misstating credit card balances.

Not every thief can achieve such lofty heights, however. Jose Duran of New Britain, Conn. tried to explain away the unauthorized charges he made on someone else’s credit card by claiming that he found a wallet that had fallen out of a car at a gas station. Like his story, Duran’s charges weren’t exactly impressive, either. “His extravagant purchases included bubble gum, socks, deodorant and baby wipes,” reports the Hartford Advocate. “They were traced to Duran, and he was charged with 16 counts of credit card theft and larceny.”

Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office in Collier County say former funeral home employee Todd Garfield used his employer’s ExxonMobil credit card for some staple items. According to the Naples Daily News, “Garfield bought food, gasoline and $50 gift cards in transactions dating back a year, according to reports. The purchases totaled $6,868.” After all, why make extravagant purchase when there’s nobody at work you can brag to?

Criminal University
In addition to life’s necessities, criminals apparently also need books. That means that not everyone you meet at your local library is a law-abiding citizen.

A student in college town Oxford, Ohio — the home of Miami University — learned that lesson outside the classroom. “A McCracken Hall resident reported misuse of her credit card after it was used for an unauthorized purchase at Lane Public Library and an Uptown bar on Oct. 6,” reports the Oxford Press, since the thief was evidently aware that nothing goes better with a good book than a stiff drink.

From one Oxford to another: The University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., had to let their radio station manager go after finding out he was neither a student nor an authorized cardholder.

Following an indictment alleging he fraudulently charged around $8,000 to a card that wasn’t his, William East was arrested for failing to appear in court on two separate dates on a charge of credit card fraud. “It was then, Ole Miss officials found East had last enrolled as a student in May 2006,” reports the Clarion-Ledger.

“East had worked at Rebel Radio in various capacities since 2004,” the paper says. “He became station manager this spring — two years after he had last been a registered student.”

Kind of makes me wonder what songs East had the disk jockeys spinning.

See related: You’re not a shopaholic — it’s just shopping momentum, 13 greatest credit card songs meld pop, plastic

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  • megan

    get a life. people make mistakes and serve their time for what they have done. they don’t need your loser ass broadcasting it any longer than the time they serve for thier mistake. is your life that boring you need to write about others? who made you god to judge and talk and write about people. hope you rot in hell!

  • Aysha

    Using others credit cards is not a mistake. Its wrong and people are fully aware of how wrong it is before they do it. Megan you should get over your self. Are you a person who had made this “mistake”and that’s why you are so defensive?