Seinfeld victim of ski-pass swindler?
Vail, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is among a handful of victims an Aspen Skiing Co. ticket agent allegedly fleeced.
Snowmass police arrested Nathanael David Rand, 26, of Carbondale, on charges of abusing other people’s credit cards and refunding money to his own bank account.
The ski company declined comment on the case, but Snowmass police Officer Clay Owen said Aspen has made good on the erroneous charges. All told, the company ended up having to pay customers $5,000.
Rand’s plot was unearthed Feb. 28 when company auditor Rebecca LaCroix received a phone call from someone complaining about an erroneous charge of $702 on his credit card, according to court documents.
When LaCroix looked into the charge, she found that only 20 minutes after the charge, it was refunded back to a different credit card number.
Documents state that Rand made both charges while working as a ticket seller at Two Creeks in Snowmass Village.
Further research by LaCroix showed one other case that followed the same pattern of making an erroneous charge and then refunding it to a different credit card number. Rand had made purchases from the ski company using the card.
Rand allegedly used so-called ski company R.S.V.P. accounts to take money from the company seven different times. The company maintains the accounts of people who sought refunds on lift tickets. Instead of refunding cash, the company refunds credit into the R.S.V.P. accounts.
On Jan. 29, Rand allegedly bought an eight-day lift ticket package for $624 using Seinfeld’s R.S.V.P. account. An hour later, the money was transferred back to Rand’s own account, according to court documents.
Owen used a court order to get information on the account number where Rand was allegedly transferring money and found it to be a bank account registered in Rand’s name. The checking account history recorded all nine credit purchases, totaling $4,798.50.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers reported that identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the state, costing businesses and individuals tens of millions of dollars each year.
Credit card fraud tops reports of identity theft in Colorado, according to Suthers’ Web site, claiming 24 percent of reported fraud.
A 2003 nationwide Federal Trade Commission survey found 9.9 million identity theft victims in 2002, with loses of more than $5.5 billion.