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Criminal Charges: Card crime committed by voyeurs, transvestites and terrible parents

Jeremy Simon

Although you may have been hoping for an edition of Criminal Charges that focused on your run-of-the mill identity theft, this week’s collection of card crime news items is anything but bland. Instead, we’ve got a list that includes a video voyeur who also stole credit cards, transvestite thieves posing as nurses and a Canadian couple who once offered their baby for sale — but have apparently moved on to credit card fraud.

  • criminal-charges.JPGA Canadian couple who previously offered to sell their baby on Craigslist for $10,000 have apparently added another mark of distinction to their Wall of Shame. According to the Province, police say Jeremy Pete and Bethany Granholm of Vancouver were among a group of scammers who used stolen and forged credit cards to make about $80,000 in fraudulent charges, including electronics purchases, jewelry, limousine rides and airline tickets.
  • That fraud ring was uncovered after a concerned citizen reported a break-in of one of the other fraudster’s vehicles. The Winnipeg Sun reports that Philip Kevin Zilber Curtin of Vancouver was arrested after a witness contacted police to alert them to a theft from Curtin’s rental vehicle on Aug. 14. That report led a police officer to several items commonly used in the trafficking of credit card data.
  • While most identity thieves just take your financial information, Keniel Luis Alvarez also took pictures, The Gainesville Sun reports. Alvarez was arrested Sept. 10 for video voyeurism after allegedly videotaping a woman without her knowledge and then stealing her credit cards while she had sex with another man. According to police, while the woman was intimately involved with Mauricio Cardenal, Alvarez took the woman’s Visa credit cards from her purse, which he used to make $40 in purchases at a nearby gas station. Alvarez is also accused of copying the numbers from three other credit cards found in the purse, which he used several times.
  • Naughty (fake) nurses, indeed. KDRO.com reports that a Louisiana crime duo put on scrubs to pass themselves off as nurses in order to snatch credit cards from patients at several Colorado assisted-living facilities. Police have already arrested male transvestite Markinious Ketrell Hartfield and are still on the hunt for an escaped second suspect, Aisha Kiko Howard, a female with a “transvestite/transgender facial appearance.”
  • Returning to check up on a stolen motorcycle abandoned at a store turned out to be a bad decision for a Conroe, Texas, thief and his girlfriend. After police stopped the man and his girlfriend, a search of their vehicle turned up more than 100 checks bearing various names, numerous drivers’ licenses with the man’s picture and different addresses and numbers, the Montgomery County Courier reports. The man was arrested on credit card abuse and other charges, while a police visit to the girlfriend’s home resulted in the discovery of narcotic paraphernalia and (surprise!) substances used to make methamphetamine.
  • When it came to making his music recording dreams come true, a Richland, Wash., man got a little help from his mother — only she was apparently unaware of her assistance. Carl Wesley Fite of Richland, Wash., apparently used his mom’s stolen identity to obtain eight new credit cards, the News Tribune reports, allegedly spending nearly $73,000 on that plastic in an effort to start the business venture.
  • Further demonstrating that family is often the culprit in identity theft, a Plainview, Minn., woman has been charged with forging her grandfather’s name on her student loan application and making thousands of dollars in purchases on his credit card, for a total debt amount of $28,379. According to a report by the Post-Bulletin, Jessica Jo Rinn — whose grandfather was diagnosed with dementia in 2005 and died in August — claimed he knowingly and willingly co-signed on her education loan in 2006 while in his right state of mind.
  • Some teachers could stand to learn a thing or two. A middle school teacher in Sauk Rapids, Minn., has been charged with providing alcohol to students, the St. Cloud Times reports. Police apparently verified that Scott Douglas Richards bought beer at a local store on Aug. 2, with his image appearing on store video and a credit card receipt showing he paid $11.48 for the beer.
  • Meanwhile, The Miami Herald reports that an unidentified professor at Florida International University has been fired after being charged with inappropriate use of a university credit card. The misuse of FIU plastic was apparently uncovered during a routine audit.

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  • Becky

    “Criminal Charges: Card crime committed by voyeurs, transvestites and terrible parents”
    Well, I’m trans, Jeremy and I’ve never committed credit card fraud; in fact I don’t have any criminal convictions and I’ve never been in trouble with the law in my life.
    Conversely, I’ve been a VICTIM of crime on several occasions – including attempted assault, burglary and, yes, actually having my debit card stolen once, too.
    Just because some people who commit card crime happen to be trans doesn’t necessarily mean that ALL transpeople are immediately suspect. Besides, since there are also cisgendered people who commit card fraud does this also mean that all non-transpeople are fraudsters, too – or is it more difficult to scapegoat them?

  • Hi Becky,
    Thanks for commenting. Of course not all trans people are card criminals — just as not all parents or children are identity thieves.
    -Jeremy

  • Becky

    Thanks for replying, Jeremy…Apologies for incorrectly jumping to conclusions, as truth is; in retrospect I admit I was being a bit nitpicky.
    Actually, I find your article really interesting – it was just the headline that raised my eyebrows:)