Becoming a crook to support a Disney Habit? Really!?
I know identity theft is a serious thing, not something to truly be laughed at. But having said that, it’s hard to miss the irony of becoming a crook to go to Disney World…
The Daily Herald
By Lee Filas
The manager of a Lincolnshire restaurant accused of stealing more than $50,000 to fund numerous trips to Disney World pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated identity theft in Lake County court Tuesday.
Alexander N. Pera, 26, of the 3800 block of North Ottawa Avenue in Chicago, has also been charged with three counts of identity theft and two counts of theft after police claim he targeted employees and patrons at Eddie Merlot’s Restaurant.
Pera remains held in Lake County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Defense attorney Adrian Gosch did not comment following the brief arraignment hearing.
Lincolnshire police were contacted in May by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, Fla., claiming Pera — a manager at Eddie Merlot’s — had made more than 15 different Walt Disney World Resort reservations and two trips aboard the Disney Cruise Line in less than one year.
Pera had been providing false information to airlines and the Disney Company for his travel plans, and used fictitious names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses to book reservations, authorities said.
Pera allegedly paid for the trips using fraudulently obtained gift cards and prepaid credit cards, police said. They added Pera acquired those gift cards using stolen credit card numbers and cash linked to diners and former employees at Eddie Merlot’s, authorities said.
Authorities said Pera would mostly target business customers with corporate credit accounts cards dining at the restaurant. More than 50 victims were uncovered and losses totaled more than $50,000, officials said.
The management at Eddie Merlot’s has cooperated with the investigation, officials said.
Pera is due back in court Aug. 20. His trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 3, but that date is expected to be pushed back.
No one was available at the restaurant to comment on Pera’s employment status.
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