Recruiter in Cheesecake Factory Card-Skimming Case Pleads Guilty
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Nicole Lakesha Ward, 28, of Washington D.C., pled guilty today to 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, and Jeffrey Irvine, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton. Ward faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when she is sentenced on Oct. 29, 2010.
According to court records, Ward admitted that, in the summer of 2008, she recruited two servers at The Cheesecake Factory located at 5345 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C., and offered to pay them in exchange for each credit card number obtained from the restaurant’s customers. She admitted to providing the servers with skimming devices that captured and stored credit card numbers. The servers collected nearly 90 credit card numbers by March 2009, and Ward provided the skimmed credit card numbers to a co-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.
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.