Calvin Ortique, a Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) employee, has been accused of masterminding an elaborate gift card scheme that led to the theft of approximately $200,000 from the Wood-n-Tap restaurants owned by the Hartford Restaurant Group. The scam took place during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Discovery of Missing Balances Raises Concern
In the summer of 2021, the Hartford Restaurant Group, which operates 10 Wood-n-Tap restaurants, became aware of missing balances on gift cards and loyalty cards. Customers started reporting that their cards had been emptied, with amounts ranging from $30 to $700. Many claimed they had not used their cards at the affected locations.
Investigation Exposes the Scam
An investigation conducted by the Newington Police Department uncovered the details of the scheme. Ortique and his co-conspirators allegedly gained access to loyalty and gift card numbers through the point-of-sale system. They used stolen card numbers to fraudulently create e-gift card images and redeemed over $20,000 in value at the restaurants.
Restitution Promised to Affected Guests
Following Ortique’s arrest, the Wood-n-Tap restaurants assured their customers that they would “make things right.” They acknowledged the disappointment and inconvenience caused by the theft and emphasized that no personal information had been compromised. They attributed the breach to random numbers being exploited.
Ongoing Investigation Continues
Authorities are still investigating the case to establish the full extent of the gift card scam and determine the involvement of any other individuals.