Beauty salon brings out ugly credit card behavior

By , CardRatings contributor
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Every month, we take a look at the latest unusual credit card crimes and capers to hit the news. So without any further ado…

Well-manicured sleight of hand

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Diane Barnes got a manicure at AQ Spa & Nails, and then when she went to pay for it, she realized her wallet was missing, according to a Fox23.com report.

As it turns out, the wallet was allegedly taken by three women who were in the salon at the same time. I wrote "allegedly" because, you know, nothing has been proven, but the police spotted one of the women on surveillance video trying to use the victim's credit cards at a couple stores after Barnes reported her wallet missing.

How'd this happen? Barnes set her purse down at her feet while she had her nails done, but somehow these three women -- who did get close to her table, recalled Barnes -- managed to take the wallet from her purse. They then used one of her credit cards to pay for their bill. Barnes was the next one to check out. While she was looking for her wallet, the three women were already busy charging up thousands of dollars in goods elsewhere.

You have to think that credit card criminals, if they'd only use their powers for good, could put on one hell of a magic show.

I would pay to have seen this

I could seriously envision some reformed credit card thieves giving David Copperfield and David Blaine a run for their money by staging a magic show focusing on sleight of hand.

For instance, Savannah Jones, 22, was recently arrested for allegedly stealing a woman's wallet from a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, using the credit cards in it and spending $200 in cash, according to a KSAT.com report.

Jones sat down near the woman and her family, downed a few shots of tequila and then started talking to the group, telling them how her boyfriend had dropped her off and left.

Was it while she distracted them with this story full of melodrama that Jones took the woman's wallet?

Nope, apparently not.

Jones apparently had a baby with her and at some point decided she needed to pay her bill, went to search her pockets for money, but gosh, unfortunately, her hands were full with baby.

So the victim said she'd be happy to hold the baby. Jones obliged, and looked for her money while the woman held the baby. The woman also offered to pay for Jones' drinks.

Jones apparently declined. She didn't need anyone paying for her drinks -- because somewhere in all that misdirection (which magicians are famous for) she took the woman's wallet, took back her baby and left.

Shortly thereafter, the victim realized her wallet was missing, but by then the tequila-drinking, baby-holding Jones had vanished.

Let us all hope that professional magicians never unite to rise against us.

Two decades behind bars for how much?

A federal jury in Miami recently came down hard on a detective, William Garcia, finding him guilty of 12 counts of credit card fraud.

When I read The Miami Herald report, my first thought was that he must have stolen a lot of money to risk throwing away his career. Like, maybe $50,000 worth of goods? A million? Maybe this was some "Ocean's 11" haul, like he took credit cards belonging to 12 casinos, and…

Well, no. The purchases on all 12 cards totaled $823. An 18-year career derailed for less than $1,000 in purchases.

So then I thought, "Well, that's good. He probably won't get put away for too long, and then maybe he can turn his life back around."

Well, no. At least, not quickly.

There's a minimum mandatory sentence of two years per charge. Again, guilty on 12 counts.

But at least, since his sentencing isn't until June 26, he has time to get his affairs in order before going to jail, right?

Well, no. The judge presiding over the case considers Garcia a flight risk and ordered him to be placed in custody immediately after sentencing.

He threw away his career for $823 and is looking at 24 years in prison, at a minimum, but at least he has a lot of family and friends to lean on?

Well, no. At least one fewer friend to lean on, anyway. The Miami Herald reports that a former friend, who created fraudulent cards using stolen numbers and gave them to Garcia, cooperated in the police investigation that brought Garcia down.

I know he brought this on himself, but you've almost got to feel sorry for the guy.

Another not-so great friend

New Yorker Tysheen Marcus, 20, borrowed a friend's credit card information (with permission) so he could buy a basketball game on the PlayStation Network, according to The Staten Island Advance.

But Marcus soon after apparently decided you can't really play video basketball without some pizza, and so he used the credit card to pay for a Domino's order. Really, if a judge is reading this, go easy on the guy, will ya? What do you expect? Computer games and pizza go hand in hand.

Marcus decided the next day you just can't play a basketball computer game and eat pizza without making a $144.48 Adidas purchase. Uh, OK, you're on your own.

A couple months later, probably long after Marcus had forgotten what he had done, his friend noticed the strange charges and called police. To his credit, Marcus told the court he recognized what he had done was wrong and said he'd pay his friend back. Of course, it probably would have sounded a little more sincere had he come forward before the police arrested him. But still, better late than never.

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