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Criminal Charges: Credit card fraud spans the globe

Jeremy Simon

Credit card fraud is hardly an American phenomenon. Our latest roundup makes that abundantly clear, showcasing stories that involve (either directly or indirectly) the U.K., Turkey, Dubai, Libya and Australia, as well as various places throughout the United States. Enjoy some of the latest notable (or simply weird) stories of card crime, collected from news sources around the Web.

  • More than one thousand employees of the U.K.’s Metropolitan Police Authority will not be punished for using corporate American Express cards for personal expenses, BBC News reports. Due to the significant number of cases, a police watchdog group has instead decided that those who misused the credit cards should be given “training and guidance” on use of the cards.
  • A pair of Home Depot employees in Cordele, Ga., have been charged with scamming their employer. According to the Cordele Dispatch, on eight occasions, Robert Andrew Middlebrooks allegedly charged another man a lower price for items taken though Middlebrooks’ check-out counter. The man would later return the merchandise for a full-value gift card, which he would then give to Middlebrooks. Meanwhile, police say Heleeda Ellis is accused of creating a $684.85 gift card in the name of a seemingly fictitious person, which Ellis used three times — the final time charging a portion of the cost to Ellis’ own credit card.
  • Bobby Early Sharp pleaded guilty on August 10 to taking part in the Round Rock, Texas, kidnapping of businessman Paul Roland last year. The Austin American-Statesman reports that 74-year-old Roland was rescued by law enforcement after phone calls and credit card transactions were traced to the San Antonio motel where Roland was being held as Sharp and his group awaited a $500,000 ransom payment.
  • The former manager of a Seattle-area yacht club has been charged with stealing more than $102,000 from the organization, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Via court documents, authorities say that Annette Meadows Llanos used her role as manager of the Duwamish Yacht Club to skim thousands of dollars in small transactions, including personal purchases on a club credit card and five cell phones bought using club funds.
  • A group of Turkish suspects have denied that they were part of a credit card fraud ring that targeted high-end shops in Dubai, the XPress Web site reports. The suspects allegedly used forged American Express, Visa and MasterCard credit cards at Mall of the Emirates stores, including Louis Vuitton, Armani and Roberto Cavalli.
  • The former town administrator for Calabash, N.C., provides a good example as to why employers should check job applicants’ references. According to, Jeremy Cribb, who resigned from his position in July amid irregularities found on his resume, has also been charged with using a town credit card to make hundreds of dollars in personal charges.
  • Running both a debt consolidation business and acting as a discount theme park ticket dealer seems an odd paring, but that was the combination used by some slippery Florida thieves, reports. The scammers allegedly called people about credit card debt consolidation then used the information they obtained from cardholders to buy theme park tickets, including Wet N Wild water park. Investigators say that Julia Kelly, her son Domonic Mclin and Valencia Hollis would then sell those tickets at a discount on Craigslist.
  • According to a press release, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners on August 12 filed a lawsuit against Express Health P.A., a state chiropractic clinic that allegedly enrolled patients in health care credit card programs. The clinic would then put charges of up to $5,040 on the plastic without its patients’ consent.
  • Some people just don’t learn: Convicted con man Muhammed Zbeida Tillisy was just out of prison when he was put back behind bars on debit card fraud charges. He allegedly posed as a Libyan official in an attempt to defraud four Seattle-area auto dealers, the Post-Intelligencer reports. Elsewhere, serial embezzler Jody Chubbs was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for embezzling from an employer while on parole for embezzling from a previous employer, Delaware Online reports. In October 2008, Chubbs also fraudulently opened a Discover Card account in a childhood friend’s name.
  • And you were worried about the swine flu. According to an Associated Press report, Australian police say that a 20-year-old Adelaide man infected more than 3,000 computers around the globe with a virus aimed at gathering bank and credit card data.
  • Dating on the ex’s dime? Charges have been dropped against a Cheshire, Conn., police officer who says he accidentally charged a $119 eHarmony online dating subscription to his ex-wife’s credit card. Robert Anderson’s ex-wife found the charge on her credit card account in April and contacted the police, the Associated Press/NBC Connecticut reports.

Got any other recent card crimes to report?

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