Beaverton, Tigard detectives arrest Florida residents.
Beaverton and Tigard detectives on Thursday night arrested three Florida residents who police said were running counterfeit credit card scams.
Beaverton patrol officers first discovered the suspicious people staying at a Beaverton hotel and alerted detectives Wednesday, Jan. 6, who worked with Tigard investigators to conduct surveillance on four people Wednesday and Thursday.
On Thursday, Jan. 7, Beaverton detectives witnessed some of the suspects use multiple credit cards to buy gift cards at several Walmart stores in the metro area, said Officer Mike Rowe, a Beaverton police spokesman.
Detectives from both agencies determined the cards were counterfeit and that most of the people whose card numbers were being fraudulently used lived in Washington County.
Detectives found that some of the victims had used their cards at the same local gas station, but detectives checked the station pumps and did not locate a number-skimming device.
Later Thursday, Beaverton detectives arrested Marie Armstrong, 39, and Liorge Hernandez-Cueto, 34, when they returned to the hotel. They also found Leorge Despaign-Moreno, 26, inside the hotel room and arrested him. Despaign-Moreno had previously been arrested for similar crimes twice since October 2014 in Kansas and Colorado. He was out on bond at the time of his arrest in Beaverton, Rowe said.
All three are being held in the Washington County Jail on charges of theft, first-degree theft and aggravated identity theft. They were each held on $250,000 bail.
A fourth person was detained but eventually released.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the hotel room and a vehicle. They seized more than 240 counterfeit re-encoded prepaid credit and gift cards, a credit card encoder, gas pump keys and 22 gas pump skimming devices.
During the investigation, detectives found that the suspects drove from Miami and arrived in Beaverton on Jan. 6, the same day local officers noticed them, Rowe said.