Indiana investigators charged ten employees of a Hardee’s hamburger drive-thru with crimes related to their alleged scheme to steal money from customers’ credit and debit cards and pass it on to inmates in a jail.
Prosecutors say that the scheme was uncovered after officials noticed that inmates were bonding out of jail after receiving funds through an inmate communication system.
“I was made aware of alleged fraud within the LaPorte County Jail,” said Capt. Andrew Hynek of the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office. “Specifically, several inmates had bonded out of the LaPorte County Jail immediately following their Securus (inmate communication system) accounts being loaded with large amounts of funds, what was later reported as stolen credit/debit cards.”
The investigation led to employees at a hamburger drive-thru in Michigan City, where prosecutors say employees were taking photographs of credit cards and debit cards. They then allegedly used the information to put money into the accounts of inmates with low bonds.
The inmates would use the funds to bond out and then withdraw the excess money from the jail-issued debit card, according to police.
“So, basically, they laundered money through the jail system. They put fraudulent money in and got clean money out,” Hynek explained.
Prosecutors say a total of $14,700 was fraudulently charged in the scheme.
The charging documents alleged that inmate Lawrence Armstrong had organized five other inmates in the scheme. He is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, a level-five felony, and criminal organizational activity, a level-six felony.
The 10 suspects are facing a total of 20 charges, and all have been arrested except one.
The manager of the Hardee’s told WSBT-TV she was shocked to find out about the alleged scheme and claims she had no idea it was going on.
Here’s a local news report about the incident:
Indiana drive-thru workers accused of stealing credit and debit card informationwww.youtube.com
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