Four Charged in Economic Crimes Unit Operation
The Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes Unit has concluded an operation into an organized crime group responsible for the use of counterfeit credit cards, stolen credit card data, identity theft and identity fraud.
Following reports of numerous frauds used to obtain merchandise, pre-paid credit cards, and acquiring vehicles from car rental companies, the Economic Crimes Unit began a six-month-long investigation.
During the investigation, the CPS Airport Unit was alerted by airport staff on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, that three individuals were suspected of attempting to rent a vehicle using a stolen credit card. A search of the individuals lead to the discovery of forged credit cards, forged government-issued identification cards, and altered cards containing stolen credit card data. Officers also located stolen property and $1,063 in cash. The three individuals were interviewed and two were charged.
Lawrence CULAJARA, 24, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of:
- Possession of property obtained by crime,
- Possession of a forged credit card,
- Unlawfully possessing credit card data,
- Fraud under $5,000,
- Possession of identity documents, and
- Making or affixing a counterfeit mark.
CULAJARA will next appear in court on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.
Misty Nicole McMASTER, 29, of Calgary, has been charged with:
- Two counts of possessing a forged credit card,
- One count of unlawfully possessing credit card data, and
- Two counts of fraud under $5,000.
She will next appear in court on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.
Following the arrests at the airport, a search warrant was executed on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at a residence in the 300 block of Midlake Boulevard S.E. As a result of the search warrant, investigators seized a credit card embosser machine, numerous counterfeit, forged or modified credit cards, credit card data, 4.1 grams of crystal meth, a replica semi-automatic handgun, and a stolen Chrysler 300.
Two additional people were charged following the execution of the search warrant. Investigators believe all parties charged were working together to commit the fraud.
Vivencio ANTONIO, 30, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of:
- Possession of an instrument for forging credit cards,
- Unlawfully possessing of credit card data,
- Possession of a stolen credit card, and
- Possession of a controlled substance.
ANTONIO will appear in court on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015.
Stephanie PAUL, 27, of Calgary, has been charged with:
- Two counts of motor vehicle theft,
- One count of possession of an instrument for forging credit cards,
- One count of possession of credit card data,
- Two counts of possession of a stolen credit card,
- One count of possession of a controlled substance,
- Once count of fraud under $5,000, and
- Breach of a recognizance.
PAUL will next appear in court on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015.
The Economic Crimes Unit would like to thank the numerous financial institutions and vehicle rental agencies that assisted in this investigation.