Saturday, November 19, 2011

New York waiters arrested for stealing credit card numbers

Seven waiters at some of New York's best steakhouses were arrested for stealing the American Express card numbers of rich customers and using them to buy expensive, luxury items.

High-tech "skimmers" which fit into the palm of a hand have been used to captured customers' credit card numbers at high-end restaurants in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The two indictments, with a total of 172 criminal counts for the 28-member ring, which includes seven waiters, 10 shoppers, several organizers and a handful of customers who bought the luxury goods knowing they were stolen.
The cards targeted were those with a high-limit or unlimited American Express credit cards. These included the "black card," which assured that the ring could make purchases without fear of automatic red flags with American Express.
After the waiters skimmed the credit cards, the numbers were then used to manufacture phony credit cards, complete with embossed numbers and the names of the customers whose cards were skimmed.
An army of shoppers, with the cards, were sent to stores such as Jimmy Choo, Cartier and Neiman Marcus to purchase handbags, shoes and other items, according to the indictments. The items were resold for profit.
Search warrants turned up more than $1 million worth of watches and more than $1.2 million in cash, among other items.
The charges range from grand larceny to enterprise corruption, New York State's equivalent of racketeering. The alleged ringleader, Luis Damian Jacas, 41, faces more than 135 felony counts in all.