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Fifty diners at some of the better steakhouse restaurants in New York City, including the Capital Grille, Smith & Wollensky, JoJo and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, became victims of a scam perpetrated by seven waiters using lipstick-size electronic “skimmers” to extract data from the magnetic strips of American Express Centurion, or “black,” cards and other high- and no-limit credit cards. The waiters targeted these customers, typically because their high credit card bills would not be immediately noticed or they would typically not be alerted by card companies to any suspicious activity on their accounts. Stolen funds were used to buy and resell cases of vintage French wine, Louis Vuitton handbags, Cartier jewelry and even a Roy Lichtenstein lithograph of Marilyn Monroe.


1.How long did this fraud last and how does it compare to the average length of time of a similar type fraud (according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners)? See the 2010 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse at

2. How much cash and merchandise were the police able to recover? How do you think this compares to what was actually stolen?

3. How long had the Secret Service been working on the case? Who does the article say the real loser in this crime is? Explain why.


Rosenberg, N. (2011). 28 Indicted in Theft of Steakhouse Patrons’ Credit Card Data. The New York Times, Nov. 18 (Retrievable online at

New York Post video. (2011). Steakhouse ID-theft ring, Nov. 18 (Retrievable online at