Tori Samiere, who was arraigned in First Circuit Court on Monday, June 9, on four counts of theft, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Samiere, 54, is accused of conspiring with Sadie Jane Groy, 30, to steal the credit card numbers of several clients of Hawaii’s largest daily paper, the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Groy is charged with 20 counts related to identity theft and credit card fraud in this case. Groy also has an extensive criminal history and has 5 expedition warrants out for her arrest in California.
The pair allegedly obtained the credit card numbers of Star Advertiser customers from a storage locker in early April where the daily paper stored its hard copies of client records. Police believe the pair did not act alone and are part of a larger ring of credit card thieves operating in Hawaii.
The Star Advertiser reported the break-in to the Honolulu Police Department in early April, but said nothing was taken.
HPD quickly learned at least one large cardboard box containing the names and credit card information of the Star Advertiser clients was stolen.
The box contained hundreds – if not thousands – of client records, a police department source told Hawaii Reporter.
The pair used the information to create at least 12 fake credit cards.
A Star Advertiser spokesperson told Hawaii News Now that the paper’s executives found out about the security breach last Wednesday and do not know the full extend of the crime.
An email inquiry to Star Advertiser’s president and publisher Dennis Francis last Friday was not returned.
It was HPD’s quick detective work that stopped the women.
One of the credit cards stolen was only used to charge the Star Advertiser fee.
That led HPD back to the storage locker, where through a process of elimination, they proved credit card records had been stolen.
Under Hawaii law, the Star Advertiser must notify the Office of Consumer Protection if during a data breach more than 1,000 individuals have their personal information breached, according to Brent Suyama, Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs Communications Officer.
The Star-Advertiser would not respond to inquiries as to whether they’d made that report.
Hawaii Reporter interviewed one person who had credit card information stolen. He said the Star Advertiser did not notify him of the breach, did not tell him to cancel his credit card or apologize to him for the incident.