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10 charged in $14K fraud scheme targeting drive-thru customers at NW Indiana fast food restaurant
Nine people were arrested in connection with a money laundering scheme involving employees at a Northwest Indiana fast food restaurant who stole customers' credit card information, which was used to fraudulently obtain funds and post bail for multiple inmates at the LaPorte County Jail, according to authorities.
According to the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office, the fraud scheme was revealed in December after jail staff started noticing irregularities of funds on some inmate's accounts. Large sums of money were placed onto the accounts of some inmates, who used the funds to bond out "almost immediately," according to authorities. Upon release from jail, the individuals left with the remaining balance on a jail-issued debit card.
Investigators continued to monitor the activity, which eventually led them to discover a fraud scheme involving multiple employees at the Hardee's in Michigan City, as well as other individuals, according to police. The sheriff's office stated that a few Hardee's employees photographed credit/debit card numbers of drive-thru customers, and those card numbers were fraudulently used to obtain funds for inmates' accounts. After posting bond and receiving jail-issued debit cards, the former inmates went to an ATM where they withdrew the remaining balance on the debit or credit cards.