AWOL felon stole credit cards while posing as Uber driver, cops say


Michael Cargile allegedly scammed people out of credit card information while posing as a ride-hail driver. | CPD; Stock Catalog

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Police on Wednesday arrested a man in River North after they recognized his car as being the one used by an offender who stole credit card numbers while posing as an Uber driver, according to a CPD spokesperson and a source who is familiar with the case.

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The driver of the car, Michael Cargile, has been missing since he skipped court on four separate identity theft cases earlier this year, according to court records. What’s more, the Chicago Police Board in 2012 fired a cop for allegedly helping Cargile and another man rack up purchases and cash withdrawals with stolen debit and credit cards.

River North arrest

A Chicago police lieutenant recognized Cargile’s SUV as they drove near the 300 block of North Clark around 12:45 a.m. on October 30. The officer conducted a traffic stop and cops arrested Cargile after identifying him as the man who “used a vehicle to commit deceptive practices in the 18th District,” according to a CPD spokesperson.

Cargile, 46, reportedly scammed people out of credit and debit cards by posing as a ride-hail service driver and claiming that he had to swipe the customers’ cards because the app’s payment system was offline, according to a source with knowledge of the allegations.

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According to the source, Cargile swiped victims’ cards on his phone and then asked victims to enter their PIN. Cargile allegedly kept the victims’ cards or returned cards that looked like the victims’ cards.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Cargile with felony forgery, two counts of felony unlawful possession of a credit or debit card, and felony possession of a fraudulent driver’s license or permit. 

Judge Charles Beach set bail at $75,000 and ordered Cargile held without bail for violation of bail bond in three pending financial crime cases in Cook County.

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Pending cases

When police arrested Cargile on Wednesday, there were three active bench warrants for his arrest in Cook County and another from Will County. According to court records, Cargile has been on the loose since he skipped bail and stopped showing up for a set of financial crime cases in January.

In the summer of 2018, a grand jury indicted Cargile on four counts of identity theft and two other felonies after he allegedly used a stolen credit card to buy $5,922 worth of merchandise at a Walmart in southwest suburban Hodgkins.

A judge set bail at $30,000, put him on electronic monitoring, and ordered him to stay home 24 hours a day unless he was at work. Three weeks later, another judge removed Cargile from electronic monitoring.

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Two weeks after the judge ordered Cargile’s ankle monitor removed, Cargile used two more stolen credit cards to purchase  $3,784 and $4,515 worth of goods from the same Walmart store, prosecutors said.

A grand jury approved fourteen new felony charges: two felony counts of operating a continuing financial criminal enterprise; seven counts of felony identity theft, three counts of theft, and two other felonies.

While a judge initially set Cargile’s new bail at $250,000, another judge reduced bail ten days later to $75,000, and Cargile went free.

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Two months later, in November, Will County authorities arrested Cargile on two counts of felony identity theft and felony theft. He was again released on bail.

He stopped showing up for his Cook County court dates on Jan. 24, according to public records, and a judge issued three warrants for his arrest. Then, he failed to show up in Will County three months later. If anybody went looking for Cargile, none was successful until last Wednesday’s traffic stop in River North.

Cop canned

In 2008, Cargile received a two-year sentence for theft by deception in a plea deal. Prosecutors dropped a host of felonies in that deal, including Class X felony organization of a continuing financial crime enterprise, aggravated robbery, and illegal use of credit or debit cards.

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Four years later, the Chicago Police Board voted to fire a Chicago cop assigned to the former 23rd District in Lakeview for his alleged involvement with Cargile’s financial crimes.

According to police board records, the cop drove Cargile to various stores where Cargile used stolen debit cards to make purchases or secure cash. The cop then lied about his involvement to investigators, the board concluded.

The board’s report also found that the cop looked up Cargile’s history in a law enforcement database and then lied when he denied doing it.

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Cargile is due back in court on Nov. 6.

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