Five arrested in alleged credit card theft ring involving waiter

Created: 07/10/2014 6:19 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Five people are under arrest, accused running a sophisticated credit and debit card theft ring that started with a waiter at an Albuquerque restaurant.

Police said the group racked up more than $15,000 in fraudulent purchases.

“I'm not just surprised, I'm shocked,” said Salim Khoury who owns Flamez Burgers & More.

According to court documents, one of the restaurant’s waiters, John Ocanas, admitted to using what’s called a “skimmer” to record customer’s credit and debit card information.

“He was actually a good worker,” said Khoury. “He was a good server and always on time.”

In the court documents, detectives said Ocanas would give the stolen card numbers to Andrew Aragon and Dustin Swanson. The two men would allegedly make fake credit cards with the stolen information. Aragon’s girlfriend, Jessica Lopez, worked at the money counter in Albertsons. She’s accused of using those fake cards to buy more than $15,000 worth of gift cards and money orders. Police also arrested fellow Albertsons cashier Tonya Russell because they said she helped with the scam. Four of the suspects were in court Thursday afternoon. They’re all facing felony charges including fraud, identity theft and conspiracy.

The owner says he’s going to make sure it never happens at his business again.

“We have to take some measures to make sure that nobody else will do the same,” he said. “But at the same time we don't anticipate anybody who can do this.”

No word on how many victims there are out there.

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