A man caught with a credit card skimming machine with information from 39 victims’ cards was sentenced Wednesday to as much as seven years in prison and also faces deportation.
Heng Li, 27, of Brooklyn, was arrested in August after a police raid at the Golden Town Buffet on Route 9W in Bethlehem.
Li pleaded guilty earlier in Albany County Court to one count each of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree scheme to defraud, both felonies. He was sentenced Wednesday to 21⁄3 to seven years in prison.
The Oct. 5 raid came after police received reports of fraudulent purchases made on credit cards used at the restaurant, with extra charges both at the restaurant and elsewhere, said Cecilia Walsh, spokeswoman for the Albany County District Attorney’s Office.
Li was found to have used the credit card skimmer to get personal identification information for 39 credit card numbers. He also had a forged Michigan driver’s license and was under an active deportation order.
Walsh said the biggest defense against such scams is for people to check their credit card statements and report any unusual activity.
Three other employees at the restaurant, Min Chen, 47, and Zhi Yun Lui, 39, who both listed their address as the Golden Town Buffet, and Qiaimin Zheng, 18, who said she was homeless, were also under deportation orders and taken into custody. They were not charged in the credit card scheme, but turned over to federal agents.
The case was prosecuted by financial crimes bureau chief Daniel Lynch.