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A Milwaukee man who duped a George Webb employee at a Wauwatosa location into giving away nearly $300 in cash in January is now facing criminal charges.

Gregory Carson, 59, faces 20 counts of theft-related charges after he scammed multiple businesses in the greater Milwaukee area for weeks, pretending to be a company executive and requesting that employees take money out of the register and deliver it to 28th and West Wells streets, according to a criminal complaint, which also lists Carson's residence in that same block.

Around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 18, an employee at George Webb Restaurant, 12201 W. North Ave., answered a phone call from someone who claimed to be 'Dave Blacks' from the restaurant's corporate office, according to the complaint. The caller informed the employee a customer had lost a wallet in the store on Jan. 12, according to a criminal complaint.

The caller said the wallet contained $1,000, but when the wallet was returned to the customer the money was missing. 'Dave Blacks' said the customer would sue George Webb and to avoid the lawsuit, the company was going to 'pay him off,' according to the complaint. The caller instructed the employee to take $340 out of the cash register and take it to the 'customer.'

The employee took a cab to 28th and West Wells Street in Milwaukee, as instructed by the caller, and gave the remaining money after paying the cab fare — approximately $288 — to an individual who exited a nearby apartment building.

When the employee returned to the restaurant, the worker called the manager and asked how to process transactions since the restaurant no longer had any cash. The manager instructed the employee to call police.

According to the criminal complaint, a human resources manager with George Webb indicated the incident involving the lost wallet never happened at any of the company's restaurants in the Milwaukee area, nor did the company authorize money to be taken from the store to 'pay off' a customer.

Among the other businesses affected by a similar scam included:

· Rocky Rococo, 2094 Miller Parkway, West Milwaukee

· Piggly Wiggly, 2201 E. Rawson Ave., Oak Creek

· George Webb Restaurant, 3636 S. Moorland Road, New Berlin

· BP Corner Mart, 15565 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield

· Family Dollar, 139 E. Broadway, Waukesha

· McDonald's, 621 Ryan St., Pewaukee

· Great Clips, 6535 S. 27th St., Franklin

· Bakers Square, 4900 S. 76th St., Greenfield

· Cousins Subs, 7178 S. 76th St., Franklin

· Culver's, 1650 E. Main St., Waukesha

Court records show Carson has a criminal past; he was convicted in Milwaukee Circuit Court of possession with intent to deliver cocaine — a felony offense. He was sentenced in October 2012 to 312 days in the Milwaukee House of Correction.

A scheduling conference and a bail/bond hearing is slated for June 9 in Milwaukee Circuit Court.

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