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Credit card thieves go grave robbing

Written by Geoff Williams
Posted On: June 3, 2011

Making the news this week, a woman who stole credit cards from a terminally ill patient, and another who ripped off her dead parents.

In previous weeks, stories about credit card crimes in the media have involved petty criminals stealing credit cards from churchgoers and teachers. Apparently, some thieves decided they needed to up the sleaze ante.

Caregiver splurges on client's credit cards

The first story is particularly sad. Dora T. Chatmon, 24, was providing in-home care for a terminally-ill woman in Lewiston, N.Y. She and her boyfriend, Leonard James, 19, used the woman's credit cards to make $13,000 in purchases between September 20 and October 12 last year. How low can you get?

Chatmon and James each blamed the other, which somehow makes me think they won't be staying together as a couple, but the judge felt that they both deserved some jail time. They each received four months of weekends in jail, five years' probation and will each have to pay back $6,450.

Credit card thief steals from her dead parents

In the case of the woman who ripped off her dead parents, perhaps that is a little more forgivable, since they obviously weren't going to be using the credit cards any longer. Still, a crime is a crime, and this is a pretty serious one. Julie H. Frias, a 52-year-old in Edmond, Okla., spent more than $53,000 on her deceased parents' credit cards.

She and her husband, Domingo, traveled to Europe, Mexico, Texas and Nevada. They even purchased season tickets from Oklahoma State University, which makes me think any OSU fan reading this now is likely thinking, "OK, she can't be all bad…"

Credit card scammer uses stolen account to prey on debtors

But of all the stories out there, the most ambitious and audacious is Jannie Lee's story. Boy, if she only used her time and energy for good.

Lee, a 28-year-old who apparently lives in the Tacoma, Wash., area, somehow got her hands on a commercial banking account number and came up with an ingenious, if highly illegal, scheme to make money.

Her group of scammers allegedly contacted up to 1,800 people with credit card debt and offered to settle their debt if they paid Lee half of what they owed on their card. They would provide their credit card account information, and Lee would pay off the rest of the debt using the ill-gotten commercial banking account.

For example, let's say I owe $1,000 on my credit card and I fall for Lee's scam. I would give Lee $500 in cash, and then she would pay off my $1,000 credit card debt with the illicit commercial banking account number. I'm happy because I paid my debt off with half the amount of money, and Lee is very pleased because she has just collected $500.

Lee's scammers allegedly got away with using the bogus corporate account to pay off credit cards and utility bills for two years before the account owner finally caught on. Lee is in jail right now and will likely stay there for awhile, unless anyone wants to pay off her $500,000 bail.

 

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