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Feb. 8, 2010

COUPLE ARRESTED AND CHARGED AFTER MORE THAN 50 ALLEGEDLY COUNTERFEIT CREDIT CARDS FOUND

(McALLEN, Texas) – Two Mexican nationals have been arrested and charged with access device fraud after more than 53 allegedly counterfeit credit cards in the name of others were discovered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents as the two attempted to enter the United States from Mexico, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

A federal criminal complaint was filed today charging Roberto Carlos Calderon-Lara (yob 1974) and Isabell Martinez-Rodriguez (yob 1974) with access device fraud. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) after CBP agents at the Pharr, Texas, port of entry (POE) found several wallets in the personal possessions of Martinez which contained numerous credit cards and other documents in the name of others. Martinez and Calderon arrived together at the Pharr POE in a taxi.  
 
Special agents from the USSS responded to the POE, examined the credit cards and determined them to be counterfeit with a potential fraud loss of $25,000 to area merchants. Martinez and Calderon were taken into federal custody and subsequently charged. Both appeared before a U.S. Magistrate today and have been ordered temporarily detained pending a detention hearing set for Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.

“Merchants are advised to carefully examine credit cards present for payment,” said Mark T. Lacey, the Resident Agent in Charge of the McAllen office of the USSS. The presented card should be compared to a known genuine credit card with particular attention to the hologram, signature strip and embossed bin number on the signature strip.”

The Secret Service was established as a law enforcement agency in 1865. While most people associate the Secret Service with presidential protection, its original mandate was to investigate the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Today the agency's primary investigative mission is to safeguard the payment and financial systems of the United States.

 

 

 

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