DOCUMENT: Funny, Crime

Nick Nolte's "Capital" Offense

Bank issues credit card bearing image of actor's iconic mug shot

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Nick Nolte's "Capital" Offense

JANUARY 16--What's in your wallet?

Well, for a couple of days this week, the billfold of an Oklahoma man contained a Capital One credit card bearing the iconic Nick Nolte mug shot.

Taking advantage of the bank's offer to personalize your plastic with a favorite photo, David Mackie, a 35-year-old salesman, recently went online and submitted a card design featuring the disheveled actor's September 2002 booking photo. Surprisingly, the bank--whose internal controls might merit a review--quickly replied with an e-mail announcing, "Congratulations! Your image has been approved."

Capital One subsequently realized its error, but not before the Nolte card, seen below, had already been mailed to Mackie's home in Ponca City in northern Oklahoma (we've fogged out numbers that would be of interest to fraudsters and identity thieves). Mackie's Nolte credit card--which replaced an unadorned card--arrived affixed to a letter noting that his new card was "hot off the press!"

Mackie told TSG that a bank representative called him Monday and asked for the return of the Nolte credit card, noting that the use of a celebrity's photo violated the bank's "image upload guidelines." In a follow-up letter, a copy of which you'll find here, Capital One offered Mackie a "$50 customer goodwill statement credit" for the Image Card's return.

Mackie, who has had a Capital One credit card for years, returned the Nolte card Tuesday in a prepaid UPS Next Day Air envelope, which the bank helpfully provided. Mackie's Nolte gambit, of course, reminded us of a similar stunt targeting postage stamps. (3 pages)