MOUNT HOLLY Temeshia McDonald of Mount Holly lived well, with a high-end wardrobe, a 2012 Cadillac, and cosmetic surgery, according to court records.
Among the 29-year-old's indulgences were sprees at Victoria's Secret, where she reportedly spent $355,545, federal authorities said, including $63,000 in merchandise and gift cards in just two months in 2012.
On Tuesday, McDonald appeared in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., where she was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $557,690 in restitution after pleading guilty to fraud.
McDonald apparently knew how to "force" sales on credit or debit cards that were declined. In addition to Victoria's Secret, she frequented stores such as the Gap, Banana Republic, and BCBG Max Azria for lavish spending, authorities said.
The plan was simple. From April 2011 through September 2012. McDonald did considerable shopping, making 500 attempts to acquire an estimated $800,000 in merchandise and gift cards, according to court records.
McDonald would have a cashier process the purchase, then present an expired or counterfeit payment card that would be declined, officials said. She would then say she was the victim of identity theft, pretend to call the card company to obtain an authorization code, and give the cashier a number.
The code, although phony, would override the denial and force the sale once it was entered into the terminal, officials said. By the time - hours or days later - store employees realized they were duped, McDonald was on to her next shopping spree, according to court records.
For example, on April 21, 2012, McDonald is seen on store security surveillance video shopping at the Gap in Short Hills Mall in Millburn. She bought 34 items that cost nearly $600, and two gift cards worth $1,000 each.
Court records show her cutting a wide swath with her shopping sprees - she struck at shops in Manhattan, Philadelphia, Cherry Hill Mall, other suburban stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and Christiana Mall in Newark, Del.
Authorities did not elaborate, but said proceeds from the fraud were used to pay for "plastic surgery, to make a down payment on a 2012 Cadillac CTS Coupe, and to purchase thousands of dollars of merchandise at high-end women's clothing stores."
In addition to the prison sentence and restitution ordered as a result of a plea agreement, U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton ordered three years of supervised release after prison.