Five Saks Fifth Avenue employees have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Local and federal authorities have broken up an identity theft ring made up of workers who allegedly stole customer information and used it to buy $400,000 worth of luxury bags and shoes that were then resold on the black market. Operating out of the retailer’s flagship store in midtown Manhattan, accused ringleader Tamara Williams swiped the info of some 50 customers and then distributed that to at least four sales associates with instructions to purchase pre-selected products from the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Christian Louboutin, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said Monday.
The bling ring made a total of 91 purchases and each time they manually entered the stolen credit card information into the Saks computer system. In some cases, Williams’ alleged accomplices were “instructed” to return the items in exchange for store gift cards that were then resold or used as payment to the others involved in the scheme. The ring, which began operating in April, was rounded up in recent days with the help of the Secret Service and Homeland Security investigators. “This was not a mass stealing of indentification as we have heard about in stories like Target and others,” Vance said. “These were pinpointed attemps on individual accounts.”