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Fake credit cards, big bills in Victoria spending spree

Mar 21 2012

Four men implicated in a massive credit card PIN-pad fraud investigation stretching from Calgary to the Island used compromised credit cards to make large purchases across downtown Victoria, including a $180 tip at a restaurant, Saanich police say.

The men allegedly used dozens of fraudulent credit cards at the Bay Centre, the Cactus Club, the Strathcona Hotel and the Hotel Grand Pacific.

On March 11, police searched a room the men had booked at the Grand Pacific and seized evidence.

The men were caught earlier that day, soon after trying to steal a PIN pad from the Qoola frozen yogurt store at Uptown.

Police spokesman Sgt. Dean Jantzen said the men were in town only for a few days before they were caught, but still racked up big bills with the fake cards.

Police believe the men stole two PIN pads from two Calgary grocery stores and one from a Surrey sushi restaurant and replaced them with devices that would scan customers’ credit-card numbers. Those credit card numbers may have been used to make illicit purchases.

Investigators believe the men were trying to swap the PIN pad at Qoola with a compromised one.

Police seized fraud-related equipment including four PIN pads, credit cards and numbers, electronic tools and a laptop computer from the group’s hotel room and their Mercedes.

Detectives are waiting for a warrant to search the laptop, which could yield evidence, Jantzen said.

Investigators are working with RCMP commercial-crimes offices on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, the Vancouver police financial-crimes unit and Calgary police. Officials from banks and credit card companies are also involved, along with federal officials looking into the possibility of bogus passports and other credentials.

Charged are: David Khoi Dang, 24, of Richmond; Domingos Gregario Usseni, 40, of Surrey; and Vancouver residents Nicholas George Lakomy and Rodney Samuel Boucher, both 32.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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