The U.S. Secret Service is investigating an alleged internal fraud scheme involving a member of the company’s loss prevention team and a cohort that are believed to be involved in a massive gift card fraud operation at Washington, D.C.-area T.J.Maxx and Marshalls stores.
The former employee, who has not yet been charged, reportedly served as an internal loss prevention investigator for the stores in Virginia. Court records obtained by NBC News show the man and a suspected accomplice used internal company gift card databases to help manufacture counterfeit gift cards and defraud the stores out of $300,000 in merchandise.
In court filings, the U.S. Secret Service claims the two men engaged in a scheme to create cloned, fraudulent gift cards using the data and numbers from legitimate cards sold to customers. The federal investigators suspect the company’s loss prevention investigator allegedly involved in the internal fraud incident tapped into company databases on a weekly basis during the past year, allowing him access to confidential gift card numbers and information.
Federal investigators report that their investigation, in conjunction with police in Montgomery County, revealed the use of fraudulent gift cards for recent purchases at T.J.Maxx and Marshalls stores in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Court filings further indicate that customers of the stores were also impacted in the scheme.
“Prior to the involvement of law enforcement, TJX began to notice an increase of customer complaints that the TJX gift cards with monetary value that were issued to them no longer had any value even though the customer had not used the monetary credit on the gift cards,” a Secret Service investigator revealed.
In a recent raid of one suspect’s home in Rockville, U.S. Secret Service said investigators found a cache of gift cards and a credit card encoding device. The Secret Service is currently seeking court permission to search more of the property of the two suspects.
The Secret Service declined to comment further.
The employee named in the court filings is not currently employed by the company, a spokeswoman for TJX reported. She would not specify if the employee was terminated, resigned or erroneously associated with TJX Companies.