|Sheriff's Office busts credit card ring in RP hotel
Five from Bay Area jailed on for making false credit cards
Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies busted an elaborate credit card crime ring operating out of a Rohnert Park hotel early Saturday morning, resulting in five people being jailed on multiple charges.
Several local businesses may have fallen victim to this scheme, which remains under investigation, according to the Sheriff's Office.
A deputy was called to the Graton Resort & Casino to investigate the alleged attempted use of a fraudulent credit card at an ATM. Earlier in the evening, according to a Sheriff's Office report, another suspect was contacted and arrested for attempting the same thing. After speaking with the second suspect, the deputy had enough information to conclude there was an elaborate operation to make false credit cards at a hotel in RP.
Property Crime Detectives then went to the hotel for a follow-up investigation, where they found several people involved in the alleged crime ring.
The suspects were identified as Jhona Mathews, 33, from Walnut Creek; Zephyr Carter, 41, from Hayward; Michael Anger, 32, from San Francisco; Robert Serrato, 37, from San Francisco; and Nicole Dunlap, 30, from San Francisco.
Inside the hotel room, detectives found stolen credit cards in several different names, cash, a credit card reader, several lap top computers and several blank credit cards. The suspects allegedly were manufacturing false credit cards in the hotel room and using them at the Graton Casino and several other businesses.
Detectives also located a small amount of methamphetamine and smoking paraphernalia. During the investigation, detectives were able to locate three Mercedes Benz' related to the suspects. Two of the three vehicles were stolen from rental car companies where the suspects rented the cars with false credit cards and then failed to return the vehicles.
The five were arrested and jailed for forgery, theft of credit card information, altering credit card information, manufacturing false identification documents, burglary, possession of stolen access card, theft of credit and other identification, false identity to a peace officer, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, conspiracy and vehicle theft. In addition, several of the suspects were on probation and had outstanding warrants for their arrest. All five suspects were booked into the Sonoma County Jail.
Detectives are conducting further investigation regarding the theft operation and are attempting to identify more victims in these crimes.
For further information contact Detective Sergeant Mike Raasch at 565-2185.