Cheesecake Factory Workers Accused in Credit Card Theft

By David Brigham
|  Monday, May 24, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 PM EDT
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Cheesecake Factory Customers Fall Victim to Skimming Scam

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Cheesecake Factory Customers Fall Victim to Skimming Scam

Federal authorities say three former employees at a Cheesecake Factory in Friendship Heights used a skimmer to steal credit card numbers from restaurant patrons and made unauthorized charges worth around $117,000.
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Former employees of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue in Friendship Heights have been accused of stealing $117,000 from diners who ate at the restaurant by taking their credit card numbers. 

Police arrested Nicole Ward, a former employee at the restaurant, for bank fraud, according to the Washington Examiner.  Ward is also accused of recruiting two servers who worked at the restaurant to help her collect credit card numbers from diners.  The two servers involved were not charged because they were cooperative with investigators, the Examiner said. 
 
The U.S. Secret Service started an investigation into the former Cheesecake Factory employees, which started in June 2008 and ended in May 2009.  They got involved after a Citibank investigator alerted them of numerous fraud complaints linked to the Cheesecake Factory location at 5345 Wisconsin Ave., NW, according to the Examiner. 

Authorities used the servers’ employee numbers, which are printed on the customer receipt, to trace the stolen credit card numbers back to two servers.  The devices used to obtain the credit card numbers traced back to Ward, according to the Examiner.  
 
Ward told investigators that she was not the ringleader, but that she was recruited by two men who paid her $40 for each credit card number she stole.  She made about $5,000 during the scheme, according to court documents.

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