Two men from Florida have been charged by the St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney in a credit card fraud case in Lake Saint Louis, but it appears that incidents may cover a much wider area.
“The scope of this is so broad. It’s extending into other states,” said Captain Chris Digiuseppi, assistant chief of the Lake Saint Louis Police Department. Digiuseppi said that numbers were still coming in, but one Lake Saint Louis business may have a total loss of close to $14,000. Investigation turned up related cases statewide and in several other states.
Digiuseppi said that federal authorities could potentially become involved.
The recent charges relate to a May 29 incident in Lake Saint Louis. According to the probable cause statement, Jose Soto-Morales, 25, of Tampa and Felix Martinez-Lopez, 44, of Miami, entered the Lake Saint Louis Walmart and attempted to purchase several items totaling $611.23 and $562.59 at two different registers with gift cards that had credit card information embedded in them.
When the men were followed out of the store by a loss prevention officer and police officers began arriving, the two suspects fled the scene. After a brief pursuit, Soto-Morales and Martinez-Lopez were apprehended and taken into custody.
Soto-Morales was charged with one count of felony fraudulent use of a credit/debit device and a felony count of resisting arrest. Martinez-Lopez was charged with two counts of fraudulent use of a credit/debit device and a felony count of resisting arrest.
Bond was set $50,000 for each suspect, cash only, 10 percent not authorized. Both men posted bond on June 7.
A hearing is scheduled for July 19.