Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 18, 2011

Pleasanton investigation leads to fraud bust

Goods were boxed for shipping to Mexico

by Glenn Wohltmann

Three men have been charged with credit card fraud after a call from employee at the Apple Store in Stoneridge Mall at around 1:05 p.m. March 9, police reported.

Pleasanton police Sgt. Jim Boland said a loss prevention employee at the store noticed the men's behavior and descriptions, matched them to other incidents, and called police.

That call led to an investigation by Pleasanton police and to a hotel room in Alameda, where detectives turned up about 75 counterfeit credit cards and a "vast amount" of merchandise purchased in Pleasanton, Hayward, Emeryville, San Francicso, Daly City and Sacramento.

"Further investigation led to probably 15 full shopping bags of clothing jewelry and cosmetics as well as two apple computers and two Playstation 3s," Boland said.

Three Mexican nationals, Oscar Romero, 34, Jose Avalos Romero, 35, and Victor Carillo Vasquez, 36, were charged with forgery, possession of stolen property and burglary, according to the report. Police say the men were buying products with forged credit cards, then shipping them back to Mexico to be resold.

At the men's hotel room in Alameda, police turned up merchandise that had already been boxed for shipping to Mexico, suspected stolen property, counterfeit credit cards and materials used to make credit cards, the report said.

All three men are being held at the Santa Rita Jail, and with evidence that the activities were not confined to California, a number of federal agencies have been called in including the FBI, Secret Service and the office of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"There's some evidence that's leading also into Texas and right now we're working with some federal agencies dealing with jurisdictions outside the state," Boland said.

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