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ID Theft Conspiracy Targets Wrigley, Ralph Lauren Patrons

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Joseph Woods, 32, allegedly recruited wait staff to help him "skim" credit cards at Chicago establishments. (Cook County Sheriff's Department)

Joseph Woods, 32, allegedly recruited wait staff to help him “skim” credit cards at Chicago establishments. (Cook County Sheriff’s Department)

Brad Edwards Brad Edwards
Brad Edwards is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. He...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The State Attorney General’s Office on Friday outlined an identity theft scheme targeting patrons of Chicago hot spots, including Wrigley Field, Ralph Lauren Restaurant and McDonald’s.

Joseph Woods, 32, is accused of recruiting staffers at those locations to obtain and hand over patrons’ credit and debit card information, CBS 2′s Brad Edwards reports.

In return, it’s alleged Woods paid said staffers a kickback.

Assistant Attorney General Ansh Vaidya said: “The proceeds are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

In court, Vaidya said the scheme was perpetrated from 2007 to 2011 and there are dozens of victims.

“Rogue employees conduct ‘skimming’ operations by stealing customers’ credit, debit and ATM card information,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a statement. “That’s why it’s important that consumers check their credit card bill and monthly banking statements for unauthorized charges and report them to their bank before more damage can be done.”

Woods and five others are charged in the conspiracy.

Madigan alleged Joseph Woods, 32, of Chicago, organized the scheme by paying employees to skim credit card information of paying customers using a small credit card reader provided to them by Woods. The employees allegedly swiped customers’ cards through the readers, enabling Woods to reproduce counterfeit credit cards to rack up thousands of dollars in charges.

Britain Woods, 33, Essence Houston, 28, Jenette Farrar, 34, and Kenyetta Davis, 31, all of Chicago, at various times were employed by the establishments used in the scheme, including Wrigley Field, RL Restaurant and Taco Bell and McDonald’s Restaurants.

Alex Houston, 22, is charged for allegedly using the counterfeit cards to make illegal purchases with Joseph Woods.

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