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Top NYC Restaurants Targets of $1M Credit Card Scam

Friday, 18 Nov 2011 | 3:29 PM ET

Smith & Wollensky, Capital Grille, Wolfgang Steak, Morton’s in Stamford, Conn. and the Bicycle Club in New Jersey... a few of the top metro-area restaurants, and targets of an alleged $1 million credit card scam.

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Fuse | Getty Images
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More than two dozen current and former waiters and their associates from some of the city's top steakhouses have been arrested in an alleged identity theft ring, accused of stealing credit card numbers from customers who often paid with American Express Black cards and other high-limit credit cards, authorities said Friday.

The Manhattan district attorney, police and the U.S. Secret Service announced the arrests Friday involving a 28-person ring. Prosecutors said restaurant workers used handheld scanners to copy the credit card information as they walked away to process the bill. The information was then sent to leaders of the alleged fraud ring, who would forge new credit cards with the stolen information and test them out on taxis. If the cards worked, the suspect would continue to use them for larger purchases.

Seven waiters were charged, plus their associates. Many of the suspects were to be arraigned in Manhattan criminal court on Friday.

Call it coincidence or call it investigative journalism — our very own colleagues dined at one of the targeted restaurants last night, but no signs of suspicious charges.... yet.

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