Recruiter in Cheesecake Factory Card-Skimming Case Indicted
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal grand jury today indicted Nicole Lakesha Ward, 28, of Washington D.C., of conspiring to commit bank fraud relating to a card-skimming scheme that targeted customers of the Cheesecake Factory in Washington, D.C.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement. If convicted, Ward faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
According to the indictment, in June 2008, Ward allegedly recruited servers at the Cheesecake Factory located at 5345 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C., and offered to pay them $25 in exchange for each credit card number obtained from the restaurant’s customers. She is accused of providing the two servers with skimming devices that capture and store credit card numbers. The indictment states the servers collected nearly 90 credit card numbers by March 2009, and Ward provided the skimmed credit card numbers to a conspirator, Gabriel Camara, age unknown, of Washington, D.C. Camara then encoded the stolen credit card numbers onto other cards, which were used to purchase merchandise in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere. Camara was arrested on June 9, 2010, on related charges.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Kosta Stojilkovic and Jack Hanly are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov