Busy chef is sprung! But more charges are coming say cops

The Brooklyn Paper
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Busy Chef Dan Kaufman was sprung from jail late Friday by his girlfriend — even as more victims of his alleged credit card scam are coming forward, law enforcement authorities said.

The girlfriend, whose name was not provided by court officials, put up the $50,000 bail on Friday, jumping in after Supreme Court Judge Evelyn LaPorte refused to accept the money from Kaufman until he could prove that the money was obtained legally, as The Brooklyn Paper reported on Friday.

But just because Kaufman is out, doesn’t mean the manager of two Busy Chef locations, plus Oven, the Blue Pig ice cream parlor and The Wine Bar at 50 Henry Street, is home free from charges that he rang up up a total of $24,978.53 on 19 customers’ credit cards since February. Kaufman is also charged with attempting to steal nearly $46,000 from five other patrons.

In fact, media attention to the case has prompted more alleged victims to come forward.

“We expect that the amount and the time frame [of the scam] will grow,” a law enforcement source told The Brooklyn Paper.

Kaufman’s lawyer, James Moschella, could not be reached for comment on Sunday. In court on Thursday, he defended his client as an “upstanding member of the community.”

Kaufman was busted last week after an employee caught him in the act and quietly began collecting evidence against his boss, according to the criminal complaint.

He also asked employees to run charges for him — some of them fraudulent, the complaint states. When an employee asked Kaufman what he was doing, Kaufman allegedly brushed off the questions and answered with “nonsensical responses,” said the prosecutor, Wilfredo Otto.

Busy Chef opened last spring, and it quickly became popular with a growing segment of Brooklynite: the harried office worker who appreciated the shop’s prepared, single-serving dinners. The Henry Street location transformed the restaurant revolving door at the corner of Henry and Cranberry streets, making it a foodie destination that included the three other Kaufman-managed restaurants.

On Sunday, however, employees at the Henry Street location of Busy Chef and the neighboring Blue Pig had taped up a sign reading, “No credit cards accepted.”

Updated 5:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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