Information Stolen From Thousands Who Visited San Antonio

February 2, 2009

Local and federal authorities are investigating the theft of personal information of 17,000 people who stayed at San Antonio,Texas, hotels.

Credit card receipts were stolen from at least three hotels, then used in an identity theft scam to make fraudulent purchases.

“Up to this point, we have recovered 1,500 (receipts), but we’re estimating 17,000 were compromised,” Mark Bartlett, special agent in charge of U.S. Secret Service in San Antonio, told the San Antonio Express-News.

Authorities declined to identify the victim hotels, but the Express-News identified one as the Emily Morgan Hotel.

“The Emily Morgan Hotel is working with the U.S. Secret Service in their investigation,” general manager Michelle Felton said in a prepared statement. “Since this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment on any specific details.”

Seven people were indicted on charges that include aggravated identity theft and possessing equipment to alter credit cards.

Further investigation by members of the South Texas Regional Task Force has shown that the stolen receipts were resold among people involved in other criminal acts.

“One of the things we see in these types of crimes is there is some sort of methamphetamine tie,” Bartlett said. “We’re seeing methamphetamine addicts forming groups to organize themselves to steal identities, distribute the documents and sell them or purchase goods with these identities.”

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