A convicted felon with a rap sheet dating back to the 1980s will spend more time behind bars after admitting to credit card fraud, identity theft and a host of other charges.
Steven Finkler, 55, of New Haven, pleaded guilty in Bridgeport district court to one count of access device fraud, one count of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
U.S. Attorney John Durham said that in August 2017, Finkler stole credit cards from two of his employer’s customers and used the cards to make more than 40 fraudulent charges in Connecticut and New York. The charges included Finkler’s purchase of jewelry for his girlfriend, Apple products and electronic devices, and other high-end consumer and retail goods for himself and his friends.
In total, Finkler spent approximately $20,892.75 of his victims’ money.
In September 2018, Finkler, using another person’s identity, opened a membership at a fitness center with gym locations throughout Connecticut. Finkler also used the same stolen identity to create accounts with mobile device payment applications.
Between September 2018 and May 2019, Finkler visited multiple gym locations and stole credit cards from lockers and other locations while the victims were located elsewhere in the gym, Durham said.
Using the stolen credit cards, and mobile device payment applications, Finkler made approximately $144,000 in fictitious charges to bank accounts that he created and controlled. He then returned the credit cards to the victims’ wallets before the victims returned to the locker room. At least 49 individuals were victimized through this scheme.
According to Durham, Finkler has a criminal history that spans 35 years and includes numerous convictions, including five federal convictions stemming from various fraud schemes.
As part of his guilty plea, Finkler agreed to pay $145,682.08 in restitution.
Finkler has been detained since his arrest on Aug. 15 last year. When he is sentenced on Wednesday, April 1, Finkler will face up to 40 years in prison.
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