WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A man who told authorities he was influenced by the movie “Catch me if you Can” in an alleged credit card theft scheme with his wife waived his preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
Farouk Rivera, 44, and Sabrina Rivera, 47, had separate court proceedings before District Judge Michael Dotzel.
Authorities said the couple are blaming each other in the theft of credit card numbers from customers of Lord & Taylor, whose distribution center and call center is based in Wilkes-Barre Township.
Investigators allege Sabrina Rivera, while employed in the customers service department, accepted orders from customers and stole credit card numbers for several months.
Lord & Taylor officials caught on to the alleged scheme when a customer complained about fraudulent charges on may 19 and May 16.
The customer said $110 was charged to her card to pay a Dish Network bill, and $137 was charged to her card at Philly’s Phinest restaurant for a food order, according to the criminal complaint.
Lord & Taylor officials traced the phone number used to place the food order to the Riveras’ residence on South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre.
Sabrina Rivera initially denied having any involvement in the alleged scheme but later admitted to taking part in the thefts, the complaint says.
Farouk Rivera, when questioned by Lord & Taylor officials, admitted he stole credit card numbers from an estimated 71 customers out of 667 orders processed by his wife, saying he was influenced by the movie “Catch me if you Can,” according to the complaint.
Farouk Rivera waived two counts each of identity theft and access device fraud to Luzerne County Court. Authorities withdrew two counts of theft and criminal use of communication facility against him.
Sabrina Rivera waived two counts each of identity theft and access device fraud to county court.
Farouk Rivera was arrested May 30 and remains jailed at the county prison for lack of $10,000 bail. Sabrina Rivera went to South Carolina when her husband was arrested. She surrendered on June 1 and remains free on $10,000 bail she posted on June 12.