FORMER STAMFORD RESTAURANT WAITRESS
INVOLVED IN CREDIT CARD FRAUD SCHEME IS SENTENCED
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that CHIBUZO OKAFOR, 26, of Rosedale, N.Y., was sentenced yesterday, March 13, by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to two months of imprisonment and four months of home confinement for her role in a credit card fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from September 2008 to January 2009, OKAFOR worked as a waitress at a restaurant in Stamford. While working at the restaurant, OKAFOR and a co-worker, Natasha Smith, stole credit card information from customers through the use of “skimming” devices. When restaurant customers paid with their credit cards, OKAFOR and Smith swiped the cards through hand-held skimmers before running them through the restaurant’s own legitimate credit card verification system. The skimming devices copied and stored the account information encoded on the magnetic strips on the back of the credit cards.
Every few weeks, an individual who supplied the skimming devices met OKAFOR or Smith so they could turn over to him the credit card information stored on the devices. OKAFOR and Smith were paid either $20 or $25 for each credit card they successfully swiped through the skimming device. They were then given new skimmers so they could continue with the scheme. The stolen credit card information was later used by members of the conspiracy to make unauthorized purchases.
While OKAFOR and Smith were employed at the Stamford restaurant, approximately 92 credit cards were compromised, the majority of which were compromised by OKAFOR, resulting in losses of approximately $135,888. Approximately $145,435 in additional losses have been attributed to the conspiracy earlier in 2008 while OKAFOR was employed at a restaurant in New York.
OKAFOR has been ordered to pay restitution of $281,323.
On March 10, 2010, OKAFOR pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
Smith pleaded guilty to the same charge and, on December 27, 2011, she was sentenced to three years of probation, the first four months to be served in home confinement. She also was ordered to pay restitution of $135,888.
This investigation was conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, notably the United States Postal Inspection Service and the United States Secret Service. The Task Force also includes members from the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Connecticut State Police; and the Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford, New Haven and Shelton Police Departments.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul Murphy.
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