Saks $400,000 Shopping Spree Called Credit Card Fraud

PHOTO: Pedestrians pass in front of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, July 29, 2013. Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Pedestrians pass in front of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, July 29, 2013.

Six Saks Fifth Avenue employees went on a months-long $400,000 shopping spree with customers' credit cards at the fashionable store, according to a criminal report.

The Saks employees worked out an elaborate scheme that fraudulently used the credit cards of at least 22 customers to buy hundreds of pairs of designer shoes and handbags, including many that were found by police last week in the alleged ringleader's apartment in Queens, N.Y.

The criminal complaint alleges that Tamara Williams, 36, stole customers' credit card data from the store computers and then shared the information with five sales associates. Williams allegedly gave her cohorts specific lists of what they should buy from the store with the stolen credit card information.

A separate group called "the fake shoppers" would then be called in to "take the bags of fraudulently purchased items from certain of the … associates and return the items to (Williams) at designated meeting places in Queens."

Some of the items were returned to Saks and the charges were returned to fake accounts created by the suspects, the complaint alleges.

The process was caught on surveillance footage that was then shown to police.

This operation carried on for four months until police raided Williams' apartment on Friday and found "over one hundred boxes of shoes... as well as many boxes of handbags and other merchandise," the criminal complaint stated.

Four men and one woman have been arrested in addition to Williams and they have all been charged with grand larceny and identity theft.