ALTON, Il. (KMOV) -- Customers at an Alton, Illinois restaurant used their credit cards to pay, and their waitress took more than just a tip. Now she and 4 others face time in federal prison for the credit card skimming ring.
Madison County Detective David Vucich noticed a common theme among victims reporting extra charges to their credit and debit cards. All the victims had eaten at Amarillo Tex’s in Alton.
“All of these victims had another thing in common,” said U.S. Attorney Steve Wiggington. “A waitress named Jamie.”
That waitress, Jamie Erwin, was the key to breaking the case. Detectives and Federal agents found out she had been approached by a hostess at the restaurant. Shadwonna Bausily learned Erwin needed some cash. And Bausily was dating a criminal with a credit card skimmer, Militano Johnson.
“So (Bausily) went to that waitress and said if you want to make extra money carry this credit card skimming box with you, and swipe the customer's credit card through the box,” said Wiggington.
The skimmers obtain the credit card number and information. Johnson was able to then use the victims’ credit cards by transferring their information onto a prepaid debit card. Johnson would then use those cards around the St. Louis area along with his wife, Carlene Johnson, and friend, Michael Montgomery.
The victims checked their credit card statements and noticed the extra charges. That’s exactly what experts say you should do.
“We were able to crack this case because people were reporting to their credit card company and to police department,” said Wiggington.
All 5 people have been convicted. Montgomery, Johnson, and Johnson have already been sentenced to federal prison. Bausily and Erwin face up to 10 years and will be sentenced on September 17.