Restaurant waiters arrested in credit card theft in New York
Baku, November 19 (AZERTAC). Smith & Wollensky waiter Brian Torrey led a syndicate of restaurant workers who stole credit card information from customers, prosecutors said.
Waiters at some of New York`s swankiest eateries were part of a criminal crew that stole credit card information to create counterfeit cards — and then racked up some $600,000 in purchases, prosecutors revealed Friday.
Led by Luis Damian “DJ” Jacas, the crooks equipped waiters at Smith & Wollensky, The Capital Grille, Wolfgang`s Steakhouse and JoJo — and at two restaurants outside the city — with electronic skimmers to steal the info from at least 50 customers, the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office said.
Then Jacas used a “network of shoppers” to go on shopping sprees at high-end Manhattan stores like Chanel, Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Hermes of Paris, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Waldmann`s, London Jewelers, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Lord & Taylor, prosecutors said.
One of them was Gregory Portacio, who infamously dragged a Queens mom to her death in 1980 by grabbing her neck chain and hanging on while an accomplice drove their getaway car down a block.
“Anybody who thinks credit card fraud brings out high class criminals should think again,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whose men were still searching for the 51-year-old career criminal and sex offender.
The crooks even used the phony American Express cards to refuel at Starbucks and also hit stores in Westchester County, Long Island, Boston, Chicago and Florida.
The ill-gotten goods were then fenced to “complicit customers” for cash, prosecutors said.
“The high-end targets of this case make it notable, but disturbingly this case is far from unique,” said District Attorney Cy Vance, whose 18-month joint investigation with the Secret Service ended Thursday with the arrests of 28 people.
The suspects were hit with 172 counts of felony enterprise corruption, conspiracy, grand larceny and other charges.
One of the key players in the ring was Brian Torrey, 34, of Bronxville, a longtime Smith & Wollensky waiter.
“Over 60 credit cards were stolen by Mr. Torrey,” Assistant District Attorney Kenn Kern said.