13 waiters were indicted on April 20th for skimming credit card information from their patrons. The crime ring covered more than 40 different restaurants within New York, Florida, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey. According to reports, the waiters were able to use the information they gained to pocket more than $3 million worth of purchases. It seems this group ran the whole gamut – some stole the information and sold it, while others used the information to make counterfeit cards to make fraudulent purchases
In order to steal the information, those involved with the crime ring used special hand-held skimmers in order to read the information from the credit cards of diners. The leaders of the group then gathered the information from the waiters and waitresses after paying them anywhere from $35 to $50 for each credit card they skimmed. Using this information, they created fake credit cards.
The items most frequently purchased with the fake credit cards were high-end electronics such as video game consoles, laptops, GPS systems, iPods, and digital cameras. The crime leaders didn’t make the purchases, however, they recruited other patsies to do this for them. Each of their special shoppers was expected to make $1,000 in purchases with the fake credit card they were provided. The shoppers would them earn 15% of the amount they purchased. The leaders then sold the goods to various stores located in Queens.
When police arrested the ringleader of this whole operation, they also confiscated an amazing 296 fake credit cards. In addition, he had $200,000 in cash at his home along with expensive handbags and Rolex watches.
Every person involved in the crime spree is facing charges for fourth-degree conspiracy. The charges are punishable with up to four years in prison. Seven of the defendants are also being charged with second-degree grand larceny. This charge can result in up to 15 years in prison. Unfortunately, there is still one more suspect out there that authorities are still searching for.
This story serves as a reminder that it is very important for you to never let your credit card leave your eyes. Gone are the days when you sit at your table and let the waiter or waitress take your credit card to the register to ring up your purchase. Although this courtesy is quite convenient, it leaves your card vulnerable.