Queens Man Pilfers $1Mn in Apple Gift Cards

From the idiot files: A 24-year-old Queens man managed to fraudster his way into the possession of $1 million in Apple Store gift cards—and get this: His last name is Profit.

Ruben Profit, 24, a denizen of the Cambria Heights section of Queens, has been arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Toko Serita on charges of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

So there he was, working a humdrum retail job at the Apple Store in the Queens Center Mall, when he allegedly was asked by shady higher-up operatives to re-code generic gift and prepaid cards with stolen credit card information. He would then allegedly use them to buy legitimate Apple gift cards totaling nearly $1 million. He told the police that he was just one link in a bigger chain—and that he was paid $200 for each $2,000 Apple gift card that he provided to someone else in the wider operation.

“The defendant is accused of using his tech skills to rig the values on both American Express and Visa gift cards and then using them to purchase gift cards from his employer—The Apple Store,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “The young man, a trusted employee who worked both as a salesperson and tech support, is accused of breaking that trust as well as the law.”

At the time of his arrest, Profit was allegedly in possession of 51 Visa and Amex gift cards with magnetic strips that had been fraudulently re-coded, along with Apple gift cards valued at $2,000 each.

Now why re-code Amex and Visa cards just to, in turn, buy additional cards? Likely he thought there would be some sort of money-laundering benefit if he added another layer in the purchase trail—which of course, is just boneheaded.

District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal complaint, Profit began employment with Apple in December 2013 and then transferred to the Apple retail store at Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst when it opened in July 2015. The card re-coding allegedly occurred between August 2 and October 15. But then Apple said that it began getting notifications of charge-backs on the Apple gift cards that Profit purchased; these are purchases made on credit or debit cards that aren’t paid by the payment processing companies because they are deemed to be fraudulent. Durrrrrrr…

Profit is being held on $20,000 bail and will return to court on November 10, 2015.

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