TooJay's server skimmed ex-cop's card in deli's bathroom, affidavit states
Jan 29, 2013 (Orlando Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
As new details surfaced surrounding a suspected credit card skimming scheme on Tuesday, police announced that the number of victims had ballooned to dozens, with more expected to come forward -- and additional arrests likely.
According to police officials and an affidavit, 33-year-old Josue Morales worked with servers at local restaurants to steal the personal financial information of diners, which he then used illegally for purchases.
Records state his arrest came after two victims -- a former Orange County Sheriff's Office commander and a retired Orlando police officer -- discovered fraudulent charges on their credit cards after dining together at TooJay's Original Gourmet Deli on Colonial Drive in Orlando on Jan. 11.
Among those charges on one diner's card: $585.75 at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Florida Mall.
The victims and an Orlando police detective identified the meal at TooJay's as the likely starting point of the fraudulent activity, and contacted management at the restaurant, who identified the server who waited on the victims.
Police said Tuesday they have identified 32 victims in the case and anticipate others will come forward. Officials have not named any other restaurants where skimming may have occurred, and so far only Morales has been arrested.
TooJay's President and CEO William Korenbaum told the Orlando Sentinel that when the customers reported the fraudulent charges, "our manager told them to contact their credit card company and the authorities."
He said the restaurant cooperated with police, and the server has since been fired.
"I don't think it has anything to do with TooJay's," Korenbaum said. "It has to do with utilizing a credit card in any establishment...This happens at gas stations, it happens at retail stores. It can happen anyplace."
Here's how the scheme works, according to local authorities: It starts with skim artists who recruit accomplices at restaurants, hotels and retail businesses. The accomplices are given the illegal electronic skimming devices, which can capture all of the personal information from a credit card or debit card.
According to the affidavit in the OPD case, surveillance video provided to police by TooJay's showed the server taking both victims' credit cards with her into a women's restroom, and later returning them.
An Orlando detective wrote in the affidavit that she suspected the server "used an unknown type of skimming device to scan and store both victims' credit card account numbers from the magnetic stripe on the back of their cards."
The detective later linked the Saks Fifth Avenue purchase to Morales, who a sales associate identified as the person who made the fraudulent purchase there.
Investigators suspect that Morales used a device to encode the credit card information the server had stolen onto a card bearing his name.
It was not the first time he'd been suspected of doing so, records show: a previous attempt at a Firkin & Kegler led to Morales' arrest for possession of a counterfeit driver's license in September, the affidavit states.
Officers raided Morales' apartment on Bent Pine Drive about 10 a.m. Monday. Inside, police found "several evidentiary items" as well as two guns, one of which had been reported stolen, police Sgt. Jim Young said.
Morales was arrested on charges of theft by obtaining a credit card by fraudulent means, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and criminal use of personal information. Police described him as a "documented member" of the Latin Kings street gang.
The TooJay's server had not been arrested as of Tuesday, but she was described as a "suspect."
Police say Morales may face additional charges as a result of a continuing investigation. Officials asked that anyone who may have been victimized call the Orlando Police Department.
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