Ex-theft prevention leader sentenced for helping steal from Target
An honorably discharged Marine who worked as a theft-prevention leader for Target in San Antonio was sentenced Monday to just over 3 years in federal prison for his role in wiping out $115,000 from Target gift cards before customers could use them.
Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth also ordered Jaymes Allen Clark, 34, to pay Target back $115,000 — the amount the retailer had to reimburse the cardholders, who alerted Target to the fraud when their gift cards were inappropriately zeroed out.
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Court records said Clark, who worked for two years as an asset protection team leader, spent a lot of his work time at the Target store in the 18000 block of Blanco Road logging into an internal Target gift card database and provided information from it to at least two accomplices. The accomplices used the info and a cellphone app to get more Target or iTunes gift cards that they could redeem at cash value.
Target told the Secret Service that the retailer’s investigation found Clark spent more time on the gift card system than any other employee in the country with similar permission to access the database and used to search for and identify activated Target gift cards, Secret Service agent Jeff Francis testified at Clark’s bail hearing in October.
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“I made a titanic mistake,” Clark told the judge Monday. “I want to apologize to the Target Corporation.”
Clark’s lawyer, Guillermo Lara, pleaded with the judge to give his client 21 months in prison because he pleaded guilty to trafficking in unauthorized access devices within 30 days of being charged.
“You did the right thing once you realized the jig was up,” Lamberth told Clark.
However, the judge said he couldn’t give Clark 21 months because of a prior, pending case. Clark had received deferred adjudication for a 2011 drug possession charge in College Station and still faced sentencing for allegedly violating the terms of that probation, records show. Clark received a sentence of 41 months.
According to agent Francis, Clark scanned Target’s database for newly activated gift cards and provided account numbers to his accomplices. The alleged accomplices, whose identities have not been released, would take a gift card number and enter it into “a phone app that takes any number and turns it into a bar code,” Francis said.
He said the alleged accomplices would then put the bar code on the phone up to a register scanner at Target to purchase iTunes gift cards or other Target gift cards, and “essentially clean that first gift card.”
“There were some instances where cards were activated one day in one part of the country and used later that same day somewhere else,” Francis testified.