Convicted Killer Wanted in Steakhouse AMEX Scam
MANHATTAN — Cops are looking to grill an ex-con wanted for allegedly participating in an identity theft ring that targeted American Express cardholders at high-end Manhattan restaurants.
Gregory Portacio, 52, a convicted killer and sex offender, allegedly served as a "shopper" in the elaborate scam in which waiters at restaurants such as Smith and Wollensky and the Capital Grille stole credit card information from customers using skimmers.
The information would then be used by "shoppers" to buy goods at luxury stores such as Hermes and Chanel that would later be resold, prosecutors said.
Authorities believe that the group, allegedly led by Luis Damian Jacas, stole $600,000 during the spree, between April 2010 and this month.
During a search, investigators found $1 million in luxury watches and wine as well as $1.2 million in cash, officials said. It was not immediately clear if those items were part of the alleged illegal proceeds.
Portacio is wanted for enterprise corruption, scheme to defraud and several other charges, police said. He is described as 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds.
According to sources and state Department of Correction records, the suspect has done two stints in prison for sodomy, manslaughter and robbery.
In the manslaughter case, Portacio was convicted of dragging a Queens woman to her death in 1980 while trying to steal her necklace, according the Wall Street Journal.
He was also convicted of raping a woman in Brooklyn.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), log onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by tex 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.