OKLAHOMA CITY -- Federal prosecutors have accused four Ohio men of stealing customers' credit card numbers from the drive-thru at a McDonald's in Tulsa.
A McDonald's worker told authorities he used a handheld skimming device for three weeks to capture the customers' card numbers, according to a complaint filed Thursday in federal court. The employee, who was not named in court documents, told authorities he sold the credit card numbers to Daniel Jefferson.
Jefferson, Godlive Tetty-Mensah, Stanjulfran Mensah, and Bismark Baah are in jail on charges they re-encoded other cards to buy iPads and laptop computers. The McDonald's worker wasn't identified in the court filing.
"Nothing is more important to us than the security of our customers," McDonald's franchisee Bob Wagner said in a statement released by McDonald's. "This is an isolated incident which we take very seriously, and this person is no longer employed by our organization."
Court records did not list attorneys for the men, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Souders said he was not aware anyone had been appointed.
The complaint says investigators discovered "approximately 282" card numbers on a laptop found in a suspect's vehicle. The majority of the cards had been used at a McDonald's on South Zurich Avenue in Tulsa, according to the Secret Service. Internet searches had been done on the computer for magnetic strip card readers and writers and skimming devices.
Ponca City police arrested the men Oct. 16 on suspicion of using counterfeit cards at a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The four had debit and gift cards encoded with stolen numbers, and inside a vehicle, authorities found a laptop, a magnetic card reader and writer, three iPads and Wal-Mart receipts, according to the complaint.
The McDonald's employee told authorities Jefferson would come to his apartment each night after work and download the card numbers from the skimmer. He said he was paid $600 and given two laptops and a Nintendo 3DS.
An unnamed suspect told a Tulsa police detective he met Jefferson at school in Tulsa, and Jefferson told him about a credit card scam.
"(The suspect) stated Jefferson eventually told him about a scam that originated in Ghana where a person uses gift cards that have been re-encoded with stolen credit card numbers to purchase merchandise," according to the affidavit.
Jefferson, 20, and Tetty-Mensah, 19, are from Columbus, Ohio; Mensah, 21, is from Dayton; and Baah, 20, is from West Columbus.
A woman contacted the Bank of Oklahoma about $316.32 in charges on her debit card from a Tulsa Wal-Mart, and surveillance footage shows Tetty-Mensah making the purchases, according to the affidavit.
Hector Hernandez, resident agent in charge of the Secret Service office in Tulsa, said he hopes attention to skimming cases will deter others.
"Big ones like this, there are several that happen throughout the year," Hernandez said.
Secret Service Special Agent Robert Idoux said there are other suspects in the case.
The Associated Press