SARASOTA COUNTY - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s office has arrested two people from New York who flew to Florida to commit widespread fraud throughout the state.
Wal-Mart contacted deputies Tuesday night to report that two suspicious people tried to buy gift cards at the North Port store and then at the Cattlemen Road location, but left when they were asked for identification.
The suspects were found in a rental vehicle at the Burlington Coat Factory on Cattleman Road in Sarasota.
During an investigation, deputies learned they used cloned credit cards to buy gift cards at more than a half-dozen stores Tuesday along the west coast, from Zephyrhills to Port Charlotte. More than 50 credit cards and approximately $3,000 worth of gift cards were found in the car.
On Wednesday, a search of the suspects’ room at the Courtyard by Marriott on Riverfront Drive in Bradenton, with the assistance of the Bradenton Police Department, led to the discovery of the cloning machine, a computer, a thumb drive with stolen credit card numbers and more credit cards.
22-year-old Graisy Pichardo and 26-year-old Myles Nicholas are both charged with Trafficking in Counterfeit Credit Cards, 2 counts of Grand Theft, 1 count of Petit Theft and 3 counts of Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card.
Detectives are continuing the investigation locally and with a number of other jurisdictions. Additional charges, including multiple counts of Identity Theft, are pending.