Credit card fraud suspect arrested

and Ann Pistone
Friday, January 26, 2018 06:04PM
A man suspected of fraud who was on the run was arrested on a warrant last week.


CHICAGO - A man suspected fraud who was on the run was arrested on a warrant last week.

The I-Team started investigating John Hancock in September, after an art gallery owner said Hancock swindled him out of $7,000 worth of paintings.

Hancock was in court Friday for allegedly committing similar crimes. He is being held on bond and now faces six different cases that include theft and unlawful forgery of a credit card.

The I-Team first told you about Hancock after he visited a Wicker Park art gallery last year, posing for the camera with his cache of paintings that he put on his credit card.

David Leonardis, the art gallery owner said Hancock then told his credit card company he never got the art and wanted the payment stopped, which is called a fraudulent "charge-back,"

"He got a giant painting of Biggie and Tupac," Leonardis said. "He got five pieces, it was $7,150 on the ticket."

David Leonardis' case is still being investigated and Hancock hasn't been charged.

What the gallery owner didn't know at that time, was that there was an arrest warrant for Hancock for a probation violation. Hancock had pleaded guilty to stealing IDs and forging credit cards to buy thousands of dollars' worth of belts and shoes from Neiman Marcus and Oak Street's Gallery Aesthete. He even scammed his way into a membership at the East Bank Club.

Now the I-Team has learned Hancock is being charged in six new cases. He allegedly stole from other high-end merchants including the Rug Company, Prysm Nightclub, Workroom Couture Home, Tile Gallery and Madison Vine Wines. He's also charged with identity theft.

In December, the I-Team interviewed another store owner who claims Hancock nearly got away with $10,000 worth of bikes from J.C. Lind Bike Company in Old Town.

"I was not certain it was a good transaction and I made the right decision to not let the product go out the door," said Jon Lind with J.C. Lind Bike Company.

Lind said his instincts saved him from being yet another one of Hancock's victims.

Hancock also has a theft case in Rolling Meadows and he is wanted on an out-of-state warrant in Florida.

His next court date, on the latest Chicago charges, is in mid-February.

If you're a merchant and are suspicious about a sale, call the credit card company before running the transaction.
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