Former Pret a Manger Employee Imprisoned for Identity Theft

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Nigel McCollum, 23, a former employee at a Pret a Manger location in Manhattan, was recently sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison for skimming customers' credit card numbers and using the stolen data to create hundreds of fraudulent credit cards in his own name (h/t DataBreaches.net).

McCollum pled guilty on March 12, 2014 to all charges against him, including identity theft in the first degree, forgery in the second degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, criminal possession of forgery devices, grand larceny in the fourth degree, unlawful possession of personal identification information in the third degree, and unlawful possession of a skimmer device in the second degree.

"I believe it's a tragedy for Nigel because Nigel is a very bright young man and he had a lot of promise, still has a lot of promise," McCollum's lawyer, Matthew Smalls, told the New York Daily News. "He fell victim to his own greed, unfortunately. What he thought ... was that it was a victimless crime."

Over a period of several months, McCollum recuited staff members to skim more than 100 customers' credit card numbers. A search of McCollum's apartment yielded two card skimmers, four computers, two encoding devices, an embosser, stacks of blank cards, and hundreds of forged cards in McCollum's name.

"Victims of identity theft often have no clue that cybercriminals are stealing their personal information -- information that can be used to make counterfeit credit cards, fraudulently open accounts, and withdraw money from victims' bank accounts," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said in a statement. "Identity theft and cybercrime are pervasive and my Office is attacking the problem head-on; today’s prison sentence is indicative of the seriousness with which we take this crime."