Lying, gambling and paying for phone sex aren’t the best of habits in any circumstances. But for the individuals profiled in this week’s look at card crimes, those habits crossed the line into illegality when they were supported by identity theft.
In an edition of Criminal Charges focusing on bad habits, I’ve included a former beauty queen who traveled between Hawaii and California, a son who accumulated 1-900 charges and a gambler who visited Off Track Betting — all paid for using other people’s plastic.
Miss Hawaii International ’92 shows a ‘talent’ for lying
Former Hawaiian beauty queen Susan E. Shaw allegedly maintained a web of deceit that cost her victims more than a broken heart. Shaw, who was named Miss Hawaii International in 1992, allegedly enjoyed a lifestyle that included frequent travel between Hawaii and Southern California, where she maintained relationships with several men.
But it was how Shaw paid for those trips that led to her May arrest: According to authorities, she financed those 60-odd trips over a year and a half using fraudulent credit cards.
“To pay for the flights, Hawaiian prosecutors said in indicting Shaw, the former beauty queen stole the identities of at least 11 people and generally applied for seven credit cards in each of their names,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “She allegedly would then use the cards for thousands of dollars in clothing and trips, among other things, police said. Sometimes to pay off debt from one fraudulent credit card, she would use another, according to court documents.”
According to the district attorney’s office in Honolulu, Shaw charged at least $160,000 to various credit cards between January 2008 and April 2009, amounting to one of the largest identity theft cases ever prosecuted in the Aloha State.
How did she do it? “Authorities allege that Shaw, 35, first put holds on her victims’ mail by submitting false applications to the post office, and then had the credit cards sent to other addresses, where she closely monitored the mailboxes for their arrival,” the L.A. Times reports.
The district attorney’s office says that, even more extraordinarily, Shaw was able to hide her thefts and the reasons for her trips from her long-time male partner and her family in Hawaii, claiming she had business appointments on the mainland — despite the reality that Shaw was unemployed. In the stories she told her family, Shaw was “a high-powered entertainment lawyer in Hollywood who worked with the likes of Oprah Winfrey and on movie productions and needed to be on the mainland for work,” the paper reports. Meanwhile, Shaw apparently maintained relationships with several men in the Los Angeles area, including one who thought the couple was engaged and a current boyfriend who was unaware of Shaw’s thefts or her life back in Hawaii.
“Authorities said that when Shaw first began coming to Southern California, she would stay at hotels like the Marriott or in the homes of the men with whom she had relationships,” the Times reports. Later, Shaw lived in Hermosa Beach and, in 2009, rented a room in a Manhattan Beach condo. In her desk, police discovered the full credit profiles of at least 25 more potential ID theft victims.
According to Manhattan Beach, Calif., Police Det. Joe Aiello, “Shaw ‘had a back story for everything’ and apparently lied frequently to those around her about her relationships, whereabouts, and employment, among other things,” the Times reports.
Son charges phone sex calls to mom’s plastic
Having to pay for your phone sex habit with your mother’s credit card is bad. Having her discover the charges and then call the cops on you is worse.
That combination has added up to a rough few weeks for Mackenzie Patrick Riede. The 25-year-old resident of Sheffield, Ala., was charged with three counts of credit card fraud after allegedly putting more than $300 in phone sex charges on his mother’s plastic.
Starting on May 28, police say Riede used his mother’s credit card on three separate occasions to dial 1-900 numbers. According to police, “Riede’s mother didn’t know her card had been used until she got her credit card bill,” The Times Daily reports. When his mom eventually received her credit card statement, she confronted her son about the calls and then did her own dialing — directly to the Sheffield police.
Police responded to the call and Riede allegedly fled. “When I went to his house to question him, he saw me and ran out of the back door,” detective Chad Carruth tells the Times Daily. “I was able to find him a short time later hiding under a neighbor’s porch.”
If convicted, Riede could face up to 10 years behind bars.
New York man pays for gambling habit with other people’s money
Richard Papile of Elmont, N.Y., apparently liked to bet on the horses. He just didn’t like to use his own money to do so.
Papile allegedly replenished his Off Track Betting account with stolen credit card information. Police say those alleged crimes took place between April 27 and May 9, costing two victims thousands of dollars and OTB a loss “in excess of $3,000,” newsday.com reports. His charges include larceny and identity theft.
“Police said Papile used the stolen information to fraudulently use a man’s Citi Visa card, charging $1,049,” newsday.com reports. “He also used a woman’s Chase bank account, charging $2,345 — which he placed in his OTB account, police said.”