The U.S. Secret Service is investigating whether an internal store security employee helped execute a scheme to rip off D.C.-area T.J.Maxx and Marshalls stores.
The employee, who is not yet charged, served as an internal fraud investigator for the stores in Virginia. Court records obtained by the News4 I-Team show the man and a suspected cohort used internal company gift card databases to help manufacture bogus gift cards and bilk the stores out of $300,000 in merchandise.
In court filings, the U.S. Secret Service said the two men engaged in a scheme to create cloned, bogus gift cards using the data and numbers from legitimate cards sold to customers. The feds said they suspect the store employee involved tapped into company databases on a weekly basis during the past year, allowing him access to confidential gift card numbers and information.
The feds said their investigation, in conjunction with police in Montgomery County, revealed someone used bogus gift cards for recent purchases at the T.J.Maxx on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C.; the Marshalls store on Rockville Pike in Rockville, Maryland; a T.J.Maxx in Olney, Maryland’ and a Marshalls on Cranston Street in Sterling, Virginia.
In a recent raid of one suspect’s home in Rockville, U.S. Secret Service said investigators found a cache of gift cards and a credit card encoding device.
The Secret Service is seeking court permission to search more of the property of the two suspects.
Court filings indicates customers of stores owned by the TJX company, which owns T.J.Maxx and Marshalls, were impacted in the scheme.
“Prior to the involvement of law enforcement, TJX began to notice an increase of customer complaints that the TJX gift cards with monetary value that were issued to them no longer had any value even though the customer had not used the monetary credit on the gift cards,” a Secret Service investigator wrote.
The Secret Service declined to comment.
The employee named in the court filings is not currently employed by the company, a spokeswoman for TJX said. She would not specify if the employee was terminated, resigned or erroneously associated with TJX.