Temeshia McDonald, 29, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging her with one count of access device fraud.
She was ordered to pay $557,690.18 in restitution to the retailers victimized by her fraud, including Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Wet Seal, and BCBG.
In all, she was accused of stealing more than $800,000 in gift cards, clothes and accessories.
Between April of 2011 and September of 2012, McDonald convinced these retailers to “force sale” more than 500 transactions, according to documents filed in the case and statements made in court.
A “force sale” is a process used by retailers to override the denial of a use of a credit or debit card. When a card is declined, the retailer has the option of contacting the card company and obtaining a code to override the denial of an expired or overcharged card, allowing the customer to complete their purchase. The retailer and the card company settle the charges at a later date.
For technical reasons, it doesn’t matter what code is typed in. Therefore, a customer can convince a retailer to enter a code they provide. The transaction goes through and the retailer doesn’t discover the fraud for weeks.
In McDonald’s case, when her card was denied, she would pretend to call the card provider and provide a false authorization number. The retailer would enter that number and the transaction was complete.
McDonald used this process to purchase $800,000 in gift cards, clothes, and accessories from a variety of retail stores, including those in other states.