Many people in New York and across the nation hit New York City’s downtown department stores when shopping, particularly for luxury items. However, recently five employees of midtown’s Saks Fifth Avenue store have been accused of grand larceny, identity theft and other crimes after allegedly stealing customers’ credit card numbers and using them to purchase luxury items that were later sold on the black market.

According to police, one employee allegedly stole the financial identities of approximately 50 customers, and then directed four other employees to use that financial information to purchase $400,000 worth of designer brand shoes and bags. The reported ringleader allegedly hand-picked the items that were to be purchased. She then reportedly had the four other employees manually enter the customers’ information into the store’s system to make 91 purchases. In some instances, employees were told to return some of the merchandise in exchange for store gift cards. The alleged crimes reportedly date back to April of this year. All five employees pleaded not guilty to charges of identity theft, grand larceny, scheming to defraud and criminal possession of stolen property.

Theft crimes such as larceny carry stiff penalties in New York, including the possibility of incarceration. In New York, larceny consists of the wrongful taking of the property of another with intent to deprive that person of said property. Grand larceny is considered a felony in New York.

However, there are defenses against the crime of larceny. For example, in certain circumstances the accused can offer an affirmative defense that they believed in good faith that they had a right to the property. Those accused of larceny may want to explore this, and other defenses, in order to craft the best possible argument in their favor.

Source: New York Daily News, Saks Fifth Avenue employees busted in identity theft ring