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Criminal Charges: Your weekly credit card fraud roundup

Jeremy Simon

Criminal Charges has a new look this week in an effort to fit in even more stories of credit card fraud and crime from across the Internet. Read on for the latest tales of card misconduct around the U.S. and beyond.

  • They harass you at home with calls offering products and services you’re probably not interested in — and based on charges targeting a woman from Eau Claire, Wis., telemarketers may also steal your credit card information, reports.
  • Need a more substantial reason to fear men wearing fanny packs? That fashion accessory held scissors used to threaten a Starbucks employee into returning an apparently stolen credit card in the “Coffee Caper” highlighted by the Chicago Journal.(Also, see the unrelated bonus item entitled “Storm of Poop” for a dose of horse excrement-induced crowd panic.)
  • Based on a press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Michael J. Kittson and U.S. Border Patrol Officer Douglas R. Bothof, both of Tucson, Ariz., were indicted for fraudulently authorizing use of Border Patrol credit cards for $55,479 in personal expenses, including upgrades for their cars, children’s mini-motorcycles and expensive sunglasses.
  • Vanny Tith of Rochester, Minn., has already been charged this year with cashing checks written against a closed business and getting a credit card in the name of a former employee of his father’s now-closed restaurant. In the latest complaint, Tith also stands accused of obtaining 10 credit cards in his mother’s name without her knowledge and then running up nearly $9,000 in charges on those accounts, the Post-Bulletin reports.
  • The following item includes at least two people who should have been paying better attention: Ron Nichols, who pled guilty to stealing the Visa card of a top-ranking prosecutor at the district attorney’s office in Sedgwick County, Kan. — and the copyeditor who somehow missed an Associated Press headline declaring “Knasas man to be sentenced for shopping with prosecutor’s stolen credit card.”
  • An ex-Red Lobster waiter in Alexandria,, Va., explained to the Gazette Packet how he would conceal diners’ credit cards when he returned their bill in order to ensure many would leave their plastic at the restaurant. That technique enabled Kevin Maples — now serving jail time — to go on shopping sprees with the stolen cards in order to support his heroin habit.
  • If you’re going to invite a stranger into your home after midnight, it’s probably best not to fall asleep. In a case of “Hospitality Abused” in New York’s The Villager, the man who welcomed a stranger up to his apartment in the wee hours awoke to find his flat-screen TV, laptop computer, audio equipment, jewelry and credit cards had been stolen. Not surprisingly, unauthorized charges appeared on one of the man’s credit cards.
  • A pair of young Canadian police constables apparently busted up a major credit card fraud ring when they stopped a car with stolen license plates in late June. The Edmonton Journal reports that the arrest of the man and woman allegedly in the car, Andrew David Stuebing and Kyla Susanne Peters, led police to over a thousand counterfeit credit cards, as well as the seizure of computer equipment and tools to manufacture thousands more.

Be sure to return next week for even more credit card crime news highlights and oddities.

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