Tags: saks | id | theft | ring

Saks ID Theft Ring Scores $400K in Luxury Items at NYC Flagship

Image: Saks ID Theft Ring Scores $400K in Luxury Items at NYC Flagship
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (C), James Hayes (2-R), Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, and other law enforcement officials are seen with a table full of high end shoes and handbags during a press conference about an identity theft ring in New York, New York. ( Justin Lane/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 06:20 AM

More than $400,000 worth of designer shoes, handbags and accessories were pilfered from Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store in New York City by an identity theft and fraud ring using shoppers' stolen information, all with the help of some employees.

The Associated Press reported Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. and federal authorities as saying the sophisticated scheme funneled stolen data to corrupt salespeople to create sham transactions, complete with phony "shoppers" on the other side of the register. The haul included a roughly $10,000 Yves St. Laurent handbag, $2,000-a-pair shoes, and brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin and Kate Spade.

At least eight people — including four Saks employees — were being charged with various offenses.

"Time after time again, we see that insiders at companies enable theft to occur," said Vance, whose office has prosecuted crimes it said were abetted by employees in settings ranging from pricey steakhouses to parking garages.

The latest case targeted the high-end store with a shoe department so well-known that it has its own special ZIP code: 10022-SHOE.

Vance said the ringleader was Tamara Williams, who he said obtained Social Security numbers, birth dates and other personal data for over 20 Saks credit card holders. Williams, 36, supplied the information to her accomplices on the sales floors, who used it to look up the shoppers' Saks account numbers or otherwise complete needed details to ring up more than 90 fraudulent sales in six months, prosecutors said.

To make the transactions look legitimate, other accomplices would collect the merchandise, posing as the shoppers or functionaries sent on their behalf, prosecutors said.

Some items were sold on the black market, others were returned in exchange for Saks gift cards — then sold or used to pay the phony shoppers — and still others apparently became part of Williams' wardrobe, Vance said. Investigators found hundreds of boxes of merchandise in her Queens home, he said.

Williams' lawyer's name wasn't immediately available for comment Monday. Williams and the four salespeople were due in court later Monday on grand larceny, identity theft and other charges. Three of the alleged phony shoppers also have been charged.

Prosecutors credit Saks with initiating the investigation. A representative for Saks, part of Toronto-based Hudson's Bay Co., didn't immediately respond to an inquiry about the case and the accused employees' status.

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More than $400,000 worth of designer shoes, handbags and accessories were pilfered from Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store in New York City by an identity theft and fraud ring using shoppers' stolen information, all with the help of some employees.
saks, id, theft, ring
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2014-20-07
Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 06:20 AM
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