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Visiting Millionaire Allegedly Steals Florida College Student’s Credit Card to Purchase Pizza

Harrun Majeed is a local college student, says Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore. Majeed is also a veteran of the armed services. He ended up in the news this week as the sympathetic victim of an alleged theft by a man from Michigan.

Majeed apparently dropped his credit card in a parking lot at a local Florida mall by accident. He realized his mistake and, to be safe, called the bank to have the card canceled to prevent its unauthorized use, in what turned out to be a smart move, notes Broward criminal lawyer Moore. Unfortunately, the credit card company informed him of some bad news: the card had already been used at a restaurant inside the mall where he thought he had lost it.

The fast-acting college student called the police department, which dispatched two sheriff’s deputies to the location to assess the situation, says Broward criminal attorney Moore. The deputies entered the restaurant and apprehended Richard Lewis Ludwig, a 54-year-old dentist from Michigan who was visiting the Sunshine State for his child’s sports tournament. Ludwig was waiting on two large pizzas with olives, a bill that totaled $40.64.

The story gets stranger: Ludwig was allegedly also found with several hundred dollars in cash on his person and told deputies that he was “absolutely not” hurting for money. In fact, the dentist informed the law enforcement officials that he is actually a millionaire, and estimated his net worth at up to four million dollars. The facts make the allegations against him seem odd.

Ludwig is now facing multiple criminal charges in Florida. He has been charged with credit card theft, impersonation, and attempting to use another person’s identity without permission. The case has been picked up by the national media.

Ludwig, like all individuals who have been arrested, has the presumption of innocence until and unless he is proven guilty. Periodically, cases in which a person who appears to be well-to-do is caught engaging in petit theft, such as shoplifting, capture the public interest.

Credit card theft has become an increasingly bigger problem, despite enhanced security safeguards. Even a debit card, which usually requires the user to enter a PIN, can be processed as a credit card and only require a signature. Few store clerks request ID or even compare the signature on the back of the card to the one provided, especially as most are now processed electronically. Online purchases often require the user to provide the full billing address, rendering use by a stranger nearly impossible in that situation. An exception might be if the entire wallet were stolen, in which case the owner’s driver’s license likely contains identifying information. Still, credit card security continues to evolve, and by some reports, payment by cell phone may be widespread within just a few years.

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