The best thing about researching credit card crimes every week are the nuggets of wisdom one learns. For instance, if I ever turn to a life of crime, I will not be trying to pull one over on actress Liv Tyler. I also will obey the rules of the road. If you want to see what I mean, read on, and see what's been going on lately in the world of credit card crime:
Don't mess with Liv Tyler
Wonder sometimes if you should upgrade to a better hair stylist? Given that I typically pay about 12 bucks for a haircut, I sometimes do wonder, which is why I'm sure hair professionals and spa owners cringe when they hear about someone like Maria Gabriela Perez. Perez owns a Beverly Hills skin care studio, which goes beyond treating skin. For instance, they'll wash, cut and dry your hair. Allegedly, they may also empty your pockets.
Perez has (and I suspect we should say "had") many celebrities among her clientele. According to her studio's web site, she has helped improve the skins of President Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Owen Wilson, Denise Richards, David Spade and--well, you get the idea. Cher even appears on the home page, offering up a spirited endorsement of Perez's services. And while I can't pretend to know what was going on in Perez's head, I nevertheless will: I'm betting she figured, "These celebrities aren't going to notice if I overcharge them a little…or by a lot."
Liv Tyler, however, is not one to be trifled with. Tyler, daughter of legendary rock singer Steven Tyler, and an actress who has appeared in a ton of movies from "Lord of the Rings" to "That Thing You Do", spotted some charges on her American Express card statement that indicated Perez had charged her for a lot more than the cost of a shampoo, cut and blow dry.
In fact, according to The Los Angeles Times, Tyler eventually went back through five months of statements and realized that Perez had charged more than $214,000 on her card. This, of course, showcases the difference between the mega-rich and those who are just getting by. It took her five months to notice that, gee, I have an extra $214,000 on my credit card? I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if someone had spent an extra $18. The mind reels.
Perez was facing 25 years in prison, but at her sentencing on June 27, she received five years’ probation and 3,000 hours of community service.
Tale of a tailgater
For those who don't enjoy tailgaters--you know, the people who follow your car in theirs, so that their front bumper is practically on your rear--you'll enjoy this tale.
Roberto Regaldo, 57, of Homestead, Fla., was driving in his black pickup truck, tailgating--you know, getting way too close to other vehicles, so that if they stopped suddenly, he would crash right into them.
A highway patrolman noticed and pulled Regaldo over, soon finding fuel in an illegal container and several phony credit cards, at least one of which he used to buy the gas. Regaldo was quickly taken in.
Not much of a story, really, but anytime a tailgater goes to jail, I'm pretty sure that an angel gets its wings.
Nice try, now step out of the car
World's worst liar or just plain lousy luck? You decide. According to AnnArbor.com, an Ypsilanti, Mich. man was recently pulled over because he had an extremely cracked windshield.
The 26-year-old man pulled out his driver's license, and the officer, who was looking over his shoulder, noticed that the name on the driver's license wasn't the same as the one on his credit cards.
The officer, Sergeant Troy Fulton (someone give him a medal, seriously, for his observational skills), questioned the guy, who explained that actually he was a Good Samaritan, or at least an Okay Samaritan. He had found a wallet near an apartment complex and just, you know, picked it up. Heh, heh… nothing else to see here, officer.
But upon further questioning, the man admitted that he was going to the store to use the credit cards.
And then later the police discovered that the man didn't exactly find the wallet just lying around. He found it when he was breaking into a car.
Well, hey, close enough.