When consumers use credit or debit cards, they expect the workers they deal with to protect their sensitive financial information. According to recent media reports, three workers at a popular Michigan City fast-food restaurant failed to do this. The two men and a woman were arrested on Oct. 9 along with six others in connection with a debit and credit card fraud scheme. A tenth individual has been charged but remains at large.
Money sent to inmates
The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office launched the investigation that led to the arrests in September when administrators at the county jail noticed that several inmates were having unusually large sums of money placed in their accounts. Detectives say that they traced the deposits to employees at a fast-food restaurant in Michigan City. These workers allegedly copied the credit and debit card details of patrons who used the restaurant’s drive-thru window.
Inmate ATM cards
The restaurant workers and their associates allegedly committed white-collar crimes by using the stolen credit and debit card information to send money to La Porte County Jail inmates. This money allowed the inmates to bond out immediately and leave prison with ATM cards that gave them access to their account balances. Detectives believe the defendants made fraudulent charges totaling $14,700. The arrested individuals all face felony counts of fraud and criminal organizational activity.
A plea deal likely
These defendants may agree to plead guilty in return for charging and sentencing concessions because there are several of them and the evidence against them is likely compelling. Financial transactions leave electronic trails that provide detectives and prosecutors with valuable evidence, and there is usually at least one individual in a large group of defendants who is willing to cooperate with the authorities to avoid jail.