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Why Stick a Gun in a Teller’s Face When You Can Rob Banks From Your Sofa?

Honestly who needs the bother? (Photo: screencap)

Seems the uptick in cyber crime has some benefit, at least: The Wall Street Journal reports that as criminals discover the beauty of electronic exploits like credit card theft, there’s far less incentive to stroll into a bank, fire off a couple of rounds into the ceiling and demand all the cash you can carry.

Our condolences to anyone who saw Public Enemies and decided  to make his name as a modern-day John Dillinger. We’ll always have Ocean’s Eleven. Read More

Smooth Criminals

She Speaks! Silicon Swindler Shirley Hornstein Comes Clean

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Last August, TechCrunch broke the story of Shirley Hornstein, a Photoshopping fabricator who ingratiated herself into Silicon Valley circles by name-dropping nonexistent connections. Her behavior eventually prompted Founders Fund to file a complaint to stop her from claiming she worked for them.

Following that report, Betabeat published claims that Ms. Hornstein, a former roommate of TechCrunch community manager Elin Blesener, was also guilty of credit card fraud, duping at least one former employer (Giftiki) as well as personal friends. Billing statements–provided by a friend who urged Ms. Hornstein to seek help–showed that “Shirls” used a stolen credit card to buy a plane ticket twice. Read More

True Crime

Romanian Men Cheat Fresh, Admit to Epic Two-Year Subway Sandwich Scam

Hackers never look this cool.

Romanians Iulian Dolan and Cezar Iulian Butu have confessed in the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to multiple counts related to credit card fraud via hacking.

Under the leadership of another Romanian, Adrian-Tiberiu Opera, the men trawled the Internet for vulnerable point-of-sale programs, which apparently included applications linked to credit card payments at 150 Subway restaurants. The scam lasted two years and vacuumed up more than $10 million in profits. Citing court documents,  Read More

Smooth Criminals

Records Point to Credit Card Fraud by Silicon Swindler Shirley Hornstein

Ms. Hornstein (Photo: Facebook)

This week, the world was introduced to Shirley Hornstein: an ersatz entrepreneur who Photoshopped and name-dropped her way through Silicon Valley. For at least a year and a half, Ms. Hornstein has been trading on flimsily fabricated connections to powerful tech investors, startups, and celebrities–always depending, as TechCrunch first reported, on the optimism of strangers.

“She told people she had the authority to approve up to a $1 million investment from Founders Fund. That was her line,” an investor from Los Angeles who recently moved to San Francisco told Betabeat, recounting the time Ms. Hornstein cajoled a pair of young entrepreneurs into pitching her on a Saturday, convincing them on Sunday that she had already heard back from the board with good news.

The fact that Ms. Hornstein’s roommate was TechCrunch community manager Elin Blesener also helped “legitimize her,” the same investor added. Read More