6 charged in credit card skim scheme

April 27, 2012 8:41:42 PM PDT
Six people have been charged in a multi-year scheme to steal people's credit card information.

Six people are charged with stealing credit and debit card information and consumer advocates say it's a reminder of why it's so important to monitor your credit card bills and bank statements.

Catching a game at Wrigley Field or having dinner at RL on Michigan Avenue may have cost customers more than they realize.

The Illinois Attorney General's office announced today that customers at these and other establishments may have had their credit, debit or ATM information stolen.

"There were a group of rogue employees who conspired to steal consumers' bank and credit card information," said Maura Possley, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office.

The spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office says Joseph Woods, who is now in custody, was the alleged organizer who knew employees at four locations.

Those employees, they allege, used card readers, similar to this one, to steal customers' card information.

One suspect, 33-year-old Britain Woods of Chicago, is linked to RL, a well-known Michigan Avenue establishment.

"I wouldn't ever associate that or the least bit of concern going into a reputable establishment like RL - at all. It would have never occurred to me," customer Kimberly Hopper said.

"I'm not happy to hear it's happening at RL," said customer Gretchen Gibson.

And also at the ballpark. Authorities say Jenette Farrar worked at Wrigley Field.

"I think it's awful," said Cubs fan Mari Horowitz. "People are there to have a good time and people shouldn't take advantage of that."

The alleged scam also involved two fast food restaurants.

The AG's office says 28-year-old Essence Houston worked at a Taco Bell on the North Side. She's in custody.

They say Kenyetta Davis worked at this McDonald's in Berwyn. She's free on bond.

Overall, customers' accounts at seven banks, including Chase, are now involved in the investigation.

Authorities say the sixth defendant, Alex Houston, took card information and made fraudulent purchases.

"The number one thing people can do is analyze their statements and scrutinize them, so if they see anything out of the ordinary, they contact their bank," Possley said.

The employee at Wrigley Field worked for Levy Restaurants. We reached out to Levy and RL, and have not heard back from either of them tonight.

The AG's office said that four suspects are in custody, one is free on bond, and one has yet to be arrested.