PHOTO: A Cambria Heights man has been charged with manipulating Visa and Master Card gift, debit, or pre-paid cards and using them to purchase Apple gift cards. Photo Courtesy of Apple, Inc.
A Queens Center Apple Store employee has been charged with re-coding credit and debit cards while working at the Elmhurst establishment and then using them to buy legitimate Apple gift cards totaling nearly $1 million, according to Queens DA Richard Brown.
Ruben Profit, 24, of Cambria Heights was arraigned last Friday on charges of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He was ordered held on $20,000 bail and to return to court on Nov. 10.
According to the complaint, Profit began working at Apple Inc. in December 2013 and then transferred to the Apple retail store at Queens Center when it opened in July 2015. While working at the Queens Apple Store, Profit allegedly purchased numerous Apple gift cards using a Visa and/or American Express gift, debit or pre-paid card between Aug. 2 and Oct. 15. The total value of the Apple gift cards was approximately $997,700, Brown said.
This month, Apple began getting notifications of charge-backs on the Apple gift cards that Profit purchased. Charge-backs, Brown noted, are purchases made on credit or debit cards that are not paid by the credit or debit card companies because they are deemed to be fraudulent.
At the time of his arrest, Profit was allegedly in possession of 51 Visa and/or American Express gift cards with magnetic strips that had been fraudulently re-encoded with credit card information. He allegedly told police that he was paid $200 for each $2,000 Apple gift card he provided to another individual. Profit is alleged to have also been in possession of seven Apple gift cards valued at $2,000 each when he was nabbed by investigators.
“The defendant is accused of using his tech skills to rig the values on both American Express and Visa gift cards and then using them to purchase gift cards from his employer – the Apple Store,” Brown said. “The young man, a trusted employee who worked both as a salesperson and tech support, is accused of breaking that trust as well as the law.”
If convicted, Profit faces up to 15 years in prison.