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Seven defendants who stole personal information from patrons at Chicago area restaurants and attractions pled guilty in April and were sentenced up to six years in prison for "skimming" personal banking information. The seven defendants stole banking and credit card account information from customers within the Chicago area who made purchases at Wrigley Field, Magnificent Mile’s RL Restaurant, a Chicago Taco Bell and a McDonald’s. The stolen banking and credit card information was used to make purchases of more than $200,000.

The identity theft scheme comprised of several employees at the various establishments. These employees would skim credit card information of paying customers using a small credit card reader, swiping more than 175 cards through the readers. The defendants then reproduced counterfeit credit cards based on the compromised information and racked up thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the seven defendants, all of Chicago, pled guilty and were sentenced in Cook County Criminal Court. Madigan indicated that the financial institutions with accounts that were compromised in the ID theft scheme included Chase, U.S. Bank, Citibank, Harris Bank, American Express, Bank of America and Fifth Third Bank. The banks have notified the affected individuals of the compromise of their personal information.

In 2012, over 2,500 identity theft complaints were filed with Madigan’s office of Consumer Fraud Bureau. "This case shows how prevalent identity theft is in everyday transactions," Madigan said. "It should serve as a reminder to regularly check your credit card bills and financial statements for any unauthorized charges or debits, and report any suspicious activity before any significant damage can be done."

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