Federal Indictments Issued for Individuals Skimming Michaels Credit Cards

On July 30, federal prosecutors in New Jersey filed criminal indictments against two California residents for stealing credit and debit card information from over 90,000 Michaels Stores locations in 19 states. According to the indictments, the individuals skimmed the customers’ card account information for purposes of generating counterfeit bank cards and withdrawing cash from the customers’ bank accounts. Crystal Banuelos and Angel Angulo were charged with aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. They face up to 32 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Prosecutors allege that the two defendants conspired with others to replace certain card payment machines at 80 different Michaels stores with counterfeit devices equipped with wireless technology that skimmed customers’ bank account information. They are accused of stealing over $400,000 from customers’ bank accounts after creating fake cards with the stolen information. Michaels was previously sued in a 2011 class action for the card thefts caused by the two defendants and their co-conspirators. That case was settled for an undisclosed sum. More recently, Michaels faced three data breach class actions related to the disclosure of customers’ confidential financial information. Those class actions were dismissed in July 2014 for failure to plead actual economic damages.