California pair accused in Oregon gift card scam

ASTORIA, Ore. — Police in Astoria, Ore., say the arrest of two Californians last week has revealed an extensive credit and gift card scam, and they expect to uncover much more wrongdoing.

Police have accused the two of manufacturing fraudulent gift cards, using a machine to put numbers on them and an algorithm to figure out which numbers computer systems would accept, the Daily Astorian (http://bit.ly/1hUQqdi) reported.

Police say the case involves several cities in California, Oregon and one other state they’re not yet naming. They said they’re cooperating with agencies in nearby Warrenton and Seaside, as well as in Fresno, Calif., and with the California Highway Patrol.

The suspects were identified as 34-year-old Bradley Stay of Fresno and 34-year-old Cherice Leona McMillian of Clovis.

Police say they got a tip from a suspicious store owner and arrested the pair in a Seaside motel shortly after the two returned from an outlet mall with thousands of dollars in merchandise.

Police estimated the two made at least $10,000 in purchases in the Astoria area.

Store owner Cindy Denny told KGW-TV (http://bit.ly/19DMJhW) she was suspicious when the couple entered her shop and purchased an $800 laptop computer.

“Something just didn’t sit right,” said Denny. “They had a stack of seven or eight prepaid debit cards. People just don’t do business like that.”

Each card had about $150 on it. But Denny said the ID matched, and the transactions went through.

Stay was using a fake driver’s license with the identity of a California resident who had reported his identity stolen in August, police said.

Police recovered more than 200 items from the couple’s Seaside hotel room including credit cards, a credit card machine and a truck load of merchandise.

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