On November 18th, it was reported that seven waiters at top steakhouses in New York were busted for stealing rich customer’s American Express credit card numbers. They used the numbers to buy luxury goods. They used hard to detect high tech “skimmers.” The reason they are hard to detect is that they fit into the palm of your hand. They captured the credit card numbers from customers in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York at high-end restaurants.
There were two indictments that had a total of one hundred seventy-two criminal counts. The scheme was run by a twenty-eight member ring which included ten shoppers, seven waiters, a few customers who bought the stolen goods even though they knew they were stolen, and several organizers. The cards that were targeted had unlimited or a high limit and were all American Express cards. The cards included the “black card.” This card allowed them to make purchases without being scared of having automated red flags.
Once skimmed, the numbers were used to manufacture phone credit cards. These phony credit cards were complete with the names of the customer and embossed numbers. Once the luxury items were bought, they were resold for a profit. Search warrants on several storage units turned up more than one million dollars worth of watches plus more than one point two million dollars in case. There were also other items in the storage units.
The charges range from enterprise corruption, which is the state’s equivalent of racketeering, to grand larceny. The alleged ring leader is facing more than one hundred thirty five felony counts.