Brooklyn Ice Cream Shop Owner Stole $25,000 From Customers

Police arrested Daniel Kaufman yesterday and charged him with identity theft and forgery for running customers’ credit cards through twice and pocketing the extra money—as much as $25,000 since February, and “cops say that Kaufman also attempted to steal $70,000 more,” reports the local Brooklyn Paper. Kaufman managed the Blue Pig ice cream shop as well as three other restaurants, and he took credit card slips from one business and ran them through at another.

According to neighborhood gossipers on the Brooklyn Heights Blog, which tipped us to the story, Kaufman has a bit of a reputation for being shady. Several of the commenters also report fraudulent charges on their own accounts after eating at one of Kaufman’s restaurants. Many of the reviews of Blue Pig online accuse it of using cheap factory-made ice cream and selling it as homemade, so maybe that was an early sign that honesty wasn’t a high priority for Blue Pig’s owners.

“Busted Chef; Heights food shop owner arrested on identity theft, forgery” [Brooklyn Paper]
(Photo: jere-me)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. tedyc03 says:

    Company lived up to it’s name…

  2. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Even the name “Blue PIg” sounds shady. So does the “Busy Chef.”

  3. Bladefist says:

    I think the Taco bell in my area does this as well. I’m investigating, 1 burrito at a time.

  4. pgh9fan says:

    Using the name Blue Pig is insulting to pigs.

  5. Marshfield says:

    Did he actually think he was going to get away with this for long?

  6. FLConsumer says:

    Almost as shady as that Purple Hippo outfit I see on late night cable TV adverts

  7. tevetorbes says:

    @Marshfield:

    I can’t imagine how he got away with this for as long as he did! Do people not check their bank statements? I feel like I would’ve noticed double charges or charges from places that I haven’t been to.

    This just seems odd- maybe there’s something more to it?

  8. Puck says:

    I’m missing the connection between swine and ice cream, unless the reference is to its larger than average consumers

  9. pixiegirl1 says:

    Who pays for ice cream with a credit card?!? Seriously it’s like $2-3 if you have to charge a ice cream cone I think its time you seriously review your spending habits. JMO.

  10. Imaginary_Friend says:

    What do pigs – blue or otherwise – have to do with ice cream? FAIL, for stupid branding. Double fail for stealing from his customers. And triple fail with a cherry on top for being dumb enough to get caught.

    I think Ben & Jerry’s need to take advantage of this opportunity and make a new flavor, Blue Pig Picaroon.

  11. nutrigm says:

    LOL @ BLUE PIG LOL

  12. temporaryerror says:

    @FLConsumer:
    Blue Hippo. IIRC there was an article on here a few months ago about Blue Hippo or similar outfit. I think that they may be as bad finance wise as a rent to own place, but I don’t think that you get the computer until after you have paid for it all (and by that time it would be even more obsolete)

  13. Farquar says:

    @pixiegirl1:

    I charge ice cream. I charge .99 at the convenience store for a candy bar. (I don’t actually eat candy bars, but if I did, I would charge it when I bought it).

    I charge everything. And by everything I mean everything. As a matter of fact, I won’t go to places that don’t take credit cards, and if I ever park in a parking garage that only accepts cash I’m screwed. (It’s happened, often)

    It’s not that I need to review my spending habits, its actually that I do review my spending habits. I never use cash (who needs cash?) and I can review the entirety of my spending habits every month in one handy bill.

    Paying $4 cash every day for that latte doesn’t seem like much unless you charge it every day and upon getting your statement you see that you spent $100 at Starbucks last month.

    It’s actually a very effective way to track your spending habits.

    All that and I’m way too lazy to go to the ATM machine.

  14. Nofsdad says:

    @temporaryerror:
    They (Blue Hippo) got busted and were gone for a while but now they’re back with a new name and new commercials… I see them every now and then on Comcast’s lowest digital tier where they put all those other sleazy commercials about crap like “male enhancement”, keep it up longer drugs and the king of all the TV hucksters,Billy Maze, a hulking, knuckle dragging Neanderthal jack of all sleazy products, who is himself a walking, talking ad for industrial strength Grecian Formula Black since he obviously dips his head in a vat of it every morning.

  15. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @Nofsdad: You dare sully Billy Mays? I curse you with a plague of a 1000 locusts that not even industrial strength oxi-clean can stop! *double thumbs up*

    BTW… it’s BROOKLYN. Home of hipsters and shady camera stores. Not shocking that it crosses over into Ice Cream now.

  16. ldnyc says:

    Most of us weren’t charging ice cream. He manages not just Blue Pig, but also Busy Chef, Oven and The Wine Bar. He was putting fraudulent charges on cards used mostly in the restaurants, not the ice cream shop.

  17. danep says:

    @tevetorbes: I can see how it could happen. On an individual basis, how are you supposed to tell the difference between a simple mistake and a scam? Sure, you might notice that they double-charged you, so you complain, they assure you it’s just an accident and you go about your way. How are you supposed to know about the hundreds of other people also getting “accidentally” overcharged?

  18. varro says:

    @pixiegirl1: You wouldn’t want to delay the line and have everyone give you dirty looks for paying with cash, would you?

  19. Zeniq says:

    @pixiegirl1: I usually don’t carry cash, so instead I use my debit card (but i process it as credit to get reward points). So be nice, my spending habits are fine.

  20. mariospants says:

    What a dumb shit this guy was: he could probably have gotten away with it if he hadn’t taken huge amounts of money from these credit cards. Double-dipping once in a while when people are there, people generally wouldn’t notice, and likely he could claim a billing error defense, but “ringing up a total of $24,978.53 from 19 customers since February”??? plus “He is also charged with attempting to steal nearly $46,000 from five other
    patrons.”???

    Anybody THAT bold should at least disguise themselves or leave the country… this guy deserved to get caught.

  21. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Imaginary_Friend:

    I’m not sure about the pig part, but “blue” seems to be pretty common in ice cream. There’s Blue Bell ice cream, and Blue Bunny ice cream.

  22. P41 says:

    Am I the only one who wonders how running credit card charges through extra times makes for “identity theft”?

    Even if the cops don’t know, surely consumerist does?

    Calling everything identity theft makes light of the difficulties true victims of id theft have.

  23. Ah yes, Brooklyn.

    All I can say is….. Oink.

  24. Jackasimov says:

    @pixiegirl1: such an 80s outlook. No further analysis needed.

  25. alice_bunnie says:

    @P41:

    Am I the only one who wonders how running credit card charges through extra times makes for “identity theft”?

    I’ve noticed this, too, and I don’t understand it either. This is credit card fraud, not identity theft! It’s like the overuse of terrorism these days.

  26. mac-phisto says:

    @P41: i’m sure there will be other charges, but the id theft comes in b/c essentially he was acting as the owners of the cards when he swiped them – he was assuming their identity.
    ====
    i imagine he got away with it as long as he did b/c of small charge amounts – cc issuers pay for chargebacks ($10-$20), so some opt to just eat small charges that their cardholders dispute.

    i wouldn’t be surprised if it was also determined that he was selling card data – that’s quite a lucrative business & restaurateurs are often courted as a source for data (b/c of the ease of skimming data in a restaurant atmosphere).

    a few posts back, i ranted about how the networks (visa/mc) don’t do enough to prevent fraud & enforce their rules – this is essentially what i was talking about. he may have gotten caught b/c he was greedy, but there are many merchants skirting the rules in such a way that they will never be punished in any meaningful way.

  27. Puck says:

    @Farquar:

    Would not recommend this charging strategy when it comes to coke or hookers. Just a heads up.

  28. Cary says:

    27 comments so far and nobody stooped to a “double dipping” crack?

  29. chameleonz says:

    This guy has leased a restaurant space in my building and has been paying $18,000.00 a month since May of 2007 and is sill not open yet.
    Now I know where he was getting all the money!!

  30. Pro-Pain says:

    @chameleonz: that’s funny!

  31. Cummingtogetya says:

    Wait till you fools realize that Kaufman will use your identity as a guarantor on loans. The credit card fraud he pulls is little leaguing, it when you discover that he has secured loans using your identity. When they were closing in on him up in Boston he pulled the same thing, first credit card / identity theft, then forging names on loans and vendor agreements. Kaufman has a history of fraud going back to the days he worked for Price Waterhouse where he forged names on checks from client accounts.
    For the record
    a) He uses several Social Security numbers
    b) He never went to college or UCLA as he proclaims
    c) He never worked at Esca or any of Mario Batali’s establishments
    d) He never attended the Culinary Institute of America
    e) He is not 34 he is well in to his 40 (High School records Wayland Ma)
    f) His Chef at South Kitchen in Boston was a fraud proclaiming to have worked at Esca and several other accomplished establishments
    g) He fraudulent misrepresents himself and his assets to investors.
    h) There is a pending action up in Boston in federal court to put him away for good.
    i) He was fired from Abe & Louis, Boston for Theft and Fraud
    j) He was fired from McCormick’s & Schmicks for theft of identity and fraud
    k) Restaurant Forie in Boston’s North End would not say why he was fired but would like to know where he can be found?
    l) The Investors from one of his Scams in Boston have an action against him for Embezzlement , Fraud, Identity Theft and Racketeering

    If you were an investor you need to contact NY prosecutor’s office. This guy is a FRAUD.

    I am sure, if Kaufman has not taken flight, he will be extradited back to Boston Via: the US Attorneys Office. To all you fools that vouched for Kaufman at his arraignment, when he takes flight does that make you accessories to his Crimes?

    Does any Know the Pennsylvania Plate Number on his SUV?

  32. zgori says:

    My dog once sniffed the blue pig’s nose (they keep it outside the Busy Chef store as a promotion) and totally freaked out. I don’t know what it means, but it made me wary of that place.