Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BLAZEJ M. WASILEWSKI charged with stealing nearly $40,000

                      A 25-year old Palos Hills man was charged with stealing nearly $40,000 from the Chase Bank branch, located at 18701 South Halsted Street in south suburban Glenwood, where he worked as an assistant manager. The charges were announced today by Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
                       BLAZEJ M. WASILEWSKI, of 10361 South Alta Drive in Palos Hills, Illinois, was arrested Saturday evening by Officers of the Dominican National Police as he attempted to enter the Dominican Republic on a commercial airlines flight, which originated in Chicago, earlier that day. WASILEWSKI was in possession of $39,765 in U.S. currency, which he failed to declare to Dominican Customs officials.
                                WASILEWSKI was charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of Bank Embezzlement, which is a felony offense. According to the complaint, WASILEWSKI manually turned off the bank’s electrical power on Friday evening, as the bank was closing for the day. It is alleged that he returned to the bank early the next morning and used his keys and alarm codes to enter the bank, deactivate the alarm, and open the vault.
                      An audit of the bank conducted by bank employees on Saturday morning determined that a teller cash dispenser was missing while a second had been forced open and the contents removed. In all, $39,765 in bank funds were unaccounted for and believed taken by WASILEWSKI. His bank issued entry key was found sitting on a counter inside the bank while the Chase security system determined that WASILEWSKI’s code had been used to enter the bank branch and open the vault. Attempts by the bank manager to reach WASILEWSKI Saturday morning were unsuccessful.
                      Subsequent investigation by the FBI developed additional evidence, linking WASILEWSKI to the theft and resulting in the charges that were announced today. Investigators were also able to trace WASILEWSKI to O’Hare International airport, where records showed he boarded a flight to Punta Cana Saturday morning.                     
                                WASILEWSKI remains in Dominican custody, awaiting extradition to Chicago. Once returned, he will appear in U.S. District Court in Chicago, at which time he will be formally charged.  If convicted of the charge filed against him, WASILEWSKI faces a possible sentence of up to thirty (30) years in prison.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Automotive Brand Hijackers Use False Protection Claims to Lure Online Shoppers

The FBI today is warning the public that online vehicle shoppers are being victimized by fraudulent vehicle sales and false claims of vehicle protection programs (VPP).  In fraudulent vehicle sales, criminals attempt to sell vehicles they do not own. They create an attractive deal by advertising vehicles for sale at prices below book value. Often the sellers purport they need to sell the vehicle because they are moving for work, to include military deployments.
Because of the alleged pending move, criminals refuse to meet the victim in person or allow a vehicle inspection, and they often attempt to rush the sale. To make the deal appear legitimate, the criminal instructs the victim to send full or partial payment to a third-party agent via a wire transfer payment service and to fax the payment receipt to the seller as proof of payment.
The criminal pockets the payment but does not deliver the vehicle. Criminals also attempt to make their scams appear valid by misusing the names of reputable companies and programs.  These criminals have no association with these companies, and their schemes give buyers instructions that do not adhere to the rules and restrictions of any legitimate program.  For example, eBay Motors’ VPP is a legitimate program whose name is commonly misused by these criminals.
The VPP is not applicable to transactions that originate outside of eBay Motors, and it prohibits wire-transfer payments. Nevertheless, criminals often promise eBay Motors VPP coverage for non-eBay Motors’ purchases and instruct victims to pay via Western Union or MoneyGram.
In a new twist, criminals use a live-chat feature in e-mail correspondence and electronic invoices.  As live-chat assistants, the criminals answer victims’ questions and assure them the deals are safe, claiming that safeguards are in place to reimburse buyers for any loss. The criminals falsely assert that their sales are protected by liability insurance coverage up to $50,000. 
Automotive shoppers should exercise due diligence before engaging in transactions to purchase vehicles advertised online. In particular, shoppers should be cautious of the following situations:
  • Sellers who want to move the transaction from one platform to another (for example, from Craigslist to eBay Motors).
  • Sellers who claim that a buyer protection program offered by a major Internet company covers an auto transaction conducted outside that company’s site.
  • Sellers who push for speedy completion of the transaction and request payments via quick wire transfer payment systems.
  • Sellers who refuse to meet in person, or refuse to allow the buyer to physically inspect the vehicle before the purchase.
  • Transactions in which the seller and vehicle are in different locations. Criminals often claim to have been transferred for work reasons, deployed by the military, or moved because of a family circumstance, and could not take the vehicle with them.
  • Vehicles advertised at well below their market value. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have witnessed this behavior or fallen victim to this type of scam, please file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bank of America robber wanted by the FBI

The Bank of America branch at 3215 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, was robbed today around 9:06 AM by a lone white male (photo attached).  The robber entered the bank, approached the teller counter, announced a robbery, and threatened harm if his demands for cash were not met.  He was given an undisclosed amount of money and fled the bank on foot, direction not known.  No weapon was observed. There were no injuries reported as a result of this robbery.  Agents are currently on the scene.
Witnesses described him as being  50 – 60 years of age, 5’9” – 5’10” tall, 200 lbs., mustache, wearing a dark t-shirt and orange camouflage hunting cap.
If anyone has any information regarding this robbery, please contact the Chicago Office of the FBI at 312/421-6700 or any local law enforcement agency.
Additional information about this and other unsolved Chicago area bank robbery cases, including downloadable photos, are available at the Bandit Tracker Chicago website at www.bandittrackerchicago.com.

Rolling Meadows bank robber wanted by the FBI

The FBI is looking for the public’s help in trying to identify and locate the individual depicted in the attached photos, who we believe may be responsible for robbing the Chase Bank branch at 2600 Kirchoff Road, Rolling Meadows, IL, at around 2:00 PM on Thursday, July 28, 2011. 
This individual walked into the bank, approached the teller counter, and orally announced a robbery.  He implied he had a weapon, but none was observed.  He walked out of the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash, direction not known.  There were no injuries reported as a result of this robbery. 
According to witnesses, the robber is described as a white male, mid-40’s, 5’11” – 6’ tall, thin build, wearing a blue plaid flannel shirt, grey hoodie, black bandana over his face, facial hair, blue jeans, and cloth work gloves. 
If anyone has any information regarding this robbery, please contact the Chicago Office of the FBI at 312/421-6700  or any local law enforcement agency.
Additional information about this and other unsolved Chicago area bank robbery cases, including downloadable photos, are available at the Bandit Tracker Chicago website at www.bandittrackerchicago.com.


Queens, DA's Office: Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced that two Romanian nationals in the United States on journalism visas have been indicted on charges of stealing more than $17,700 from a Chase bank in Hollis, Queens, by rapidly performing multiple unauthorized withdrawals at the bank’s automated teller machines using scores of Dunkin’ Donut gift cards that had been reencoded with stolen bank account information.
District Attorney Brown said, “Instead of going on a run for coffee and doughnuts with their
gift cards, the defendants are instead accused of going to the bank and using its ATMs as their
personal slot machines, cashing out large sums of money with each use of their ‘doctored’ Dunkin’
Donut gift cards.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Daniel Gheorghe and Ionel Cristian Popa,
both 33 with no known addresses in the United States. The defendants were arraigned on Thursday,
July 28, 2011, in Queens County Supreme Court in Kew Gardens, Queens, on a 70-count indictment
charging each of them with one count of third-degree grand larceny, one count of third-degree
criminal possession of stolen property, sixty-six counts of second-degree criminal possession of a
forged instrument, and two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud. The defendants, who each face
up to seven years in prison on each of the 66 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged
instrument if convicted, were ordered held on $150,000 bail each (with a bail sufficiency hearing)
and to return to court on August 23, 2011.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the indictment, Gheorghe and Popa were
observed by police in the vestibule of the Chase bank branch, located at 205-19 Hillside Avenue, on
the evening of March 31, 2011, rapidly performing multiple unauthorized transactions at the bank’s
ATMs using Dunkin’ Donuts rechargeable gift cards that had been re-encoded with stolen account
information belonging to various banks – including Chase Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, HSBC,
Maestro, Nuvision Federal Credit Unit and US Bank National Association. After each transaction,
the defendants allegedly jammed large amounts of cash – mostly twenty-dollar bills – in the pockets
of their clothing.
At the time of their arrest, police officers assigned to the New York City Police Department’s
107th Precinct allegedly seized $17,703 in stolen funds and 66 Dunkin’ Donut gift cards from the
defendants’ persons and from their vehicle.
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District Attorney Brown explained that a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card is marked with a sixteendigit
vendor account number. According to the criminal charges, none of the sixteen digit account
numbers displayed on any of the seized cards matched the account numbers encoded on the cards’
magnetic strips.
The District Attorney said that police were summoned to the location by investigators from
JPMorgan Chase, which proactively protects the personal and account information of its clients
against identity thieves.
District Attorney Brown thanked JPMorgan Chase and Dunkin’ Brands, Inc. (the parent
company of Dunkin’ Donuts), for their assistance in the investigation. The arrest was made by
Police Officer Frank Caruso, of the NYPD’s 107th Precinct.
The investigation was conducted by Detective Robert Cimino, of the New York City Police
Department’s Identity Theft Squad, under the supervision of Sergeant Barry Neiss and Lieutenant
Ruperto Aguilar and the command of Deputy Inspector Gregory T. Antonsen, of the Financial
Crimes Task Force, and the overall supervision of Deputy Chief Jeremiah Quinlan, Commander of
the Special Investigations Division, and Chief Phil T. Pulaski, of the Detectives Bureau.
The District Attorney noted that the investigation was continuing.
Assistant District Attorney Morgan A. Goulet, of the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes
Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Gregory C. Pavlides, Bureau Chief,
Christina Hanophy, Deputy Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District
Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for
Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.
It should be noted that an indictment is merely an accusation and that a defendant is
presumed innocent until proven guilty.