Crime

60 felonies filed against fraud suspect

A fistful of fake credit cards found with a Hialeah man Thursday means he may face five dozen felony fraud counts, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office reports.

Rogelio Rodriguez, 41, was booked into county jail on 60 counts after deputies seized 25 counterfeit credit cards from his 2014 Nissan SUV. The cache included phony American Express and Walmart gift cards, along with fake credit cards from several banks and merchants.

The credit cards were imprinted with the name Jesus Mardonado -- the same name on a counterfeit Ohio driver's license Rodriguez reportedly tried use at the West Marine store in Key Largo.

The cards' magnetic strips reportedly contain actual information of people -- none named Mardonado -- who were issued legitimate cards.

"An alert merchant in Key Largo quickly called the Sheriff's Office after [Rodriguez] attempted to use multiple fraudulent credit cards in his store to purchase high-end merchandise," said agency information officer Becky Herrin.

According to reports from detectives Robert Dosh and Jacques Rozek, Rodriguez wanted to buy a top-of-the-line Garmin GPS system from West Marine but one was not available.

"He then asked for the second most-expensive GPS and said he would take it without asking any questions about the device at all," Herrin said.

Rodriguez then produced the Ohio driver license. He tried to pay for the GPS with a credit that was declined. He pulled out six more cards, all of which failed. Rodriguez walked out of the store and drove south on U.S. 1.

The manager called the Sheriff's Office to report the suspected fraud attempt. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper stopped Rodriguez's SUV at mile marker 101.

Rodriguez handed the deputies and trooper some paperwork and credit cards with his name on them. He also agreed to let officers check the vehicle, according to reports.

A search turned up a wallet with the Jesus Mordonado driver license and credit cards in that name. Credit cards were found stashed between the seats and in the center console. "The suspect became nervous as the credit cards were discovered," Dosh wrote in his report.

Rodriguez agreed to be taken to the Sheriff's Office on Plantation Key. There, he told detectives that as "a two-time felon," he knew he was going to be arrested. Rodriguez told them if asked questions, he would simply "deny everything" or say he "didn't know." 

Detectives were working to see if Rodriguez can be linked to other credit-fraud cases from Monroe County.

At press time Friday, Rodriguez remained in jail with no bond allowed. He faces 32 counts of using of another person's identification; 25 counts illegal use of credit cards; grand theft, trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, manufacturing counterfeit identification, and illegal use of a credit card.

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