It doesn't really matter how old you get. I doubt anyone likes the idea of checking out with either unpaid credit card bills or knowing that you were robbed from, and your offspring will have to deal with the fallout.
Why do I bring that up? Oh, you'll see in a moment. As we do every week, we take a look at what's going on in the world of credit card crimes, and frankly, our first story is a doozy. You'll see what we mean, in our latest weekly round-up…
And our "I have no shame" award goes to…
Last week, we saw a woman teaching her son to steal credit cards and a hospice worker take a patient's credit cards, and frequently in this space, we see people giving the Bronx cheer to humanity. And now this… Adrienne Stagner, 28, was recently arrested for allegedly caring for a 101-year-old woman in Greeley, Colorado. Sorry, I meant she was brought before the law for allegedly caring for a 101-year-old woman's credit card.
Stagner allegedly used the credit card 19 times for cash advances, totaling up to $4,000, buying gas, clothes and, oh yes, drugs. She also swiped the elderly woman's JCPenney card and bought $500 worth of clothing. The 101-year-old's grandson discovered the theft and alerted police.
Ms. Stagner is facing a possible 12 years in jail, but there is some good news. If she stays there that long, I'm pretty sure she will be furnished with a wardrobe.
Channeling their inner Robin Hood?
Not all crooks are out for themselves. Most are, but not all. But even well-meaning criminals can wind up causing some serious heartbreak.
In Canton, Georgia, the 11-member Special Olympics equestrian team is due to compete in mid-August and recently learned that two $500 credit card donations were made with stolen credit cards.
The team's trainer, Bethany Nugent, had been quite rightfully pleased to have an extra $1,000 on hand, and she spent some of it on supplies for the team, saving the remainder for other expenses like travel and lodging in Dalton, Georgia, where the team was to compete.
About a month after the donations, however, she learned from her credit card company that the money had been donated from a stolen card. Nugent was then informed that she had to pay back a thousand dollars (and you wonder why big banks get a bad reputation…), and, well, things looked bleak for the Special Olympics team.
Fortunately, America's Best Franchising, a consulting company that assists hotel franchises, stepped in and gave the Special Olympics' team $1,000 in clean money to replace the sudden gap in their finances. (If you'd like to donate non-stolen funds to the team can go to: http://www.beats-inc.org)
Meanwhile, whoever it was who tried to donate that stolen money made a second goodwill attempt in the last week, sending in more money. This time, the funds were turned away. It's hard to know what to say to crooks who are trying to donate income that isn't really theirs. Um, thanks?
Guess what we're having for dinner? And breakfast? And lunch?
Kind of a sad story here. Samantha L. Robinson, 30, of Monroe, Louisiana, was arrested for stealing information from a credit card belonging to her father, who has to be reeling. He hired his daughter to work for him, and this is the thanks he gets?
But it's not like Robinson went out gambling or buying a bunch of DVDs with the credit card. Most of the $3,296 that she charged went to buy a new engine for her vehicle. And $88 went to food for her kids.
In fact, I wouldn't even bring up this story, because it is, as noted, kind of sad and an ordinary credit card theft story, and I hope it all works out for her and her father, assuming she isn't really a terrible person and just made a series of bad judgments, like not leveling with her father on how bad things were and not taking the bus for awhile instead of stealing money for a new engine. Still, I had to pause when I saw what food Robinson bought for her children. The $88 was all entirely spent on… pizza? Really? Just pizza?
But I bet the kids loved it.
Dumb luck, and dumber crooks
Gotta love this tale. A Minneapolis couple, Milton Carlton Rucker Jr., 38, and Tania Marie Thompson, 34, were arrested last week. Allegedly, they had been lurking in the parking lot of a gym, peering into vehicle windows and then settling on their prize: They broke into an SUV and stole a duffel bag, which contained a credit card and some other items.
Well, the victim returned from working out, saw that his vehicle had been broken into, and alerted investigators who quickly went into action. They tracked the stolen credit card and swiftly deduced that the couple had spent some of their newfound stolen money at a gas station and a Target. They secured video surveillance at both establishments, which helped them nail the couple, who couldn't have been too bright.
After all, while credit card thieves are caught all the time, they were taking a real risk stealing the credit card of this particular guy, and you would think that along with the credit card, surely they noticed the government-issued handgun and the credentials inside the duffel bag. You have to think that most smart criminals would have said, "We're not touching this."
They stole the credit card of an FBI agent.