Bank of America tips off police after suspect allegedly uses New York man’s card.
HAZEL PARK – Police say a Hazel Park woman living in a squalid basement stole about $20,000 in an ATM credit card scam targeting more than two dozen people from across the country.
The woman became involved with an unknown Nigerian man through the Internet in early 2007 and police said he arranged to have the ATM cards sent to her address.
Jailed on a $75,000 cash bond, Deborah Roggero, 52, faces a preliminary hearing today in Hazel Park 43rd District Court on three counts of stealing a financial transaction device.
Hazel Park police and the Oakland County Narcotic Enforcement Team last Wednesday raided the house where Roggero lives in the 300 block of West Woodruff.
Police said they seized four computers, eight credit cards, 10 PIN numbers for people’s bank cards, 50 narcotic prescription pills and a small amount of marijuana.
Hazel Park Police learned of the scam last month when the Bank of America alerted them about someone using an ATM card issued to a man who lives near Albany, N.Y., at a bank machine in Hazel Park, said Detective Bruce Arthur.
Bank of America in June had contacted Hazel Park police when they noticed dozens of their ATM card holders from as far away as Texas and California were reporting their cards stolen and suddenly asking for new cards to be sent to Roggero’s address in Hazel Park.
“People purporting to be the card holders were calling the bank saying they wanted new cards issued because they had been lost or stolen,” Arthur said. “Bank of America received numerous requests for bank cards to be sent to Roggero’s address.”
After police learned of the New York man’s fraudulent ATM card use at a bank in Hazel Park they got a surveillance photo of the suspect at the bank’s ATM making the fraudulent transaction, police said.
“We matched her photo with an old arrest card photo,” Arthur said. “We also had her address from all the ATM cards that had been mailed there.”
Roggero lives in the basement of a house occupied by her ex-husband and two adult sons, police said.
The legitimate cardholders were duped in e-mails by someone falsely claiming to be the bank.
“They would ask (the cardholders) to update their online banking information and click on a link to provide new security codes,” Arthur said. “That allowed whoever was doing this to access all the victim’s banking account information and numbers.”
ATM cards from victims began to be mailed to Ruggero’s address early this year, he added.
Some of the ATM scam also involved several Chase bank card holders.
“The suspect told us she was going to marry this guy from Nigeria that she met online,” Arthur said. “But they had never met each other or ever talked on the phone.”
Roggero told police she joined an online chat room called American Nigerian Love Group about two years ago and eventually became emotionally involved with the man who was sending her the ATM cards, police said.
The suspect is currently on probation for a 2007 bad check conviction in Huntington Woods. Her hearing in the stolen ATM card case is scheduled for 1 p.m. today in Hazel Park District Court. Each of the three felony charges against her is punishable by up to four years in prison.
By Michael P. McConnell