PHOENIX Feb 5 A controversial Arizona lawman,
who styles himself "America's Toughest Sheriff" for his
relentless pursuit of criminals, may have himself become a
victim of credit card fraud, media reports showed on Tuesday.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told local CBS television
news in Phoenix that his credit card information appeared to
have been used to buy nearly $300 in groceries in Chicago - a
city he said he had not visited in years.
A controversial figure for housing county detainees in a
Spartan "Tent City" jail and for sweeps targeting illegal
immigrants across metro Phoenix, Arpaio told local KPHO
television that "skimmers" had used his Discover card last week
to shop at a Jewel supermarket in Chicago.
"I'm sure I didn't make the purchase so it could've been
done by, what do you call it, skimmers making copies or through
the Internet, many different ways," Arpaio told KPHO. "I don't
think I'm the only victim around. There's many, many more I
A message left with Arpaio's office was not immediately
returned on Tuesday, and it was unclear if any arrests had been
made in connection with the scam.
Bank card fraud is on the rise worldwide. One international
study published last year found than a quarter of consumers
reported having been hit by scammers in the previous five years.
Arpaio, 80, told KPHO he had not been in Chicago since the
1950s, and that he canceled his card after the scam was reported
by his bank.
If the people responsible for the fraud were struggling,
Arpaio may not press charges, the station reported.
Arpaio was swept to a sixth term in office in November by
backers of his hardline stance on crime and illegal immigration
in the Phoenix area. He is also fighting lawsuits from the
government and Hispanic drivers who accuse him of civil rights
violations and racial profiling, which he denies.
(Reporting by Tim Gaynor, editing by Cynthia Johnston, desking
by G Crosse)