Identity Theft

Strippers Accused of Drugging, Stealing $200K From Patrons

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A quartet of New York City strippers were arrested after they allegedly drugged, ditched and defrauded wealthy patrons in a scam investigators believe may go back as far as 2011, the New York Daily News reports. Prosecutors said the dancers targeted rich men and took them to private rooms to drug their drinks and steal their credit cards.

Four victims reported fraudulent charges totaling nearly $200,000. If they tried to dispute the charges, they reportedly received threatening text messages, including photos of their escapades with the dancers.

The alleged crimes were carried out between September and December 2013 at Scores in Manhattan and Roadhouse NYC in Queens, but investigators with the NYPD and Drug Enforcement Administration believe the scheme may have more victims. An indictment states one or more of the strippers (Samantha Barbash, 40, Roselyn Keo, 29, Marsi Rosen, 28, and Karina Pascucci, 26) may have been involved in similar operations since 2011.

A cardiologist seems to have been hit hardest by the fraud. Zyad Younan had a $135,303 credit card bill after he apparently went to Scores four times in November. Other alleged victims include a real estate lawyer, hedge fund manager and a banker, according to the New York Daily News.

Despite the threatening text messages, the supposed victims contacted the police. Consumer finance laws protect credit cardholders from liability for fraudulent charges (the rules are a little different for debit cards), but it’s best to address unauthorized card use as soon as possible to prevent a thief from damaging the cardholder’s credit. Running up a huge credit card bill could seriously hurt the person’s credit score, because bumping up against credit limits is really bad for credit scores. If a high credit card bill — fraudulent or legitimate — is reported to credit bureaus, the consumer can expect a drop in credit scores.

Credit card fraud often stems from data breaches (like the one just confirmed at P.F. Chang’s), rather than getting drugged and robbed at a strip club, but no matter the circumstances, it’s highly likely you’ll be a victim of unauthorized card use at some point. It can be difficult to prevent, which is why you should make a habit of checking your bank statements and credit card activity regularly. It’s also very helpful to monitor your credit for unexpected changes, which you can do for free through Credit.com.

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