Scams and shams — June/July 2014

News on the scammers who didn’t get away with it, including a BC man caught with 27 fake credit cards and a Texas man who attempted to kill the judge presiding over his tax fraud case.

BUSTED:

BC man caught with 27 fake credit cards, multiple IDs

Kelowna’s Michael Feist, 32, recently pled guilty to 22 charges of credit-card fraud totalling $11,000 — a crime that sounds fairly unremarkable. The manner in which the RCMP arrested him, however, was anything but. Officers caught up with Feist after he neglected to return a BMW he rented in Vancouver and the car’s GPS gave away his location. When they nabbed him (ironically, in front of a Winners store) he had three different driver’s licences and 27 credit cards — 11 in his wallet, 11 in his pockets and five in the car — under nine different names. He also had three cellphones, two prepaid phone cards, drugs, laptops, iPads, a police radar detector, a wig and $450 in cash. Feist was sentenced to time served (15 months) plus an additional 30 days.

YOU GO, URL

Victim buys website to warn others of con man

When Linda Conti got ripped off by a contractor she hired to install lights at her home in East Memphis, Tenn., she didn’t just get mad — she got even. Jerry Breedlove conned her out of more than US$3,000 when he presented fake invoices and receipts for light fixtures and other supplies he said he needed for the job. Corti dutifully “reimbursed” him for the nonexistent purchases and he promptly took off. After many unsuccessful attempts to contact Breedlove and get her money back, she bought the domain name www.jerrybreedlove.com and posted on the site: “DO NOT HIRE JERRY BREEDLOVE AS YOUR CONTRACTOR.” It cost her just US$28 to secure the website address.

KILLER IDEA

Accused’s get-out-of-jail-free plan backfires

A Texas man facing tax charges was worried the judge presiding over his case would give him a harsh sentence, so he tried to have the judge killed. Now Phillip Monroe Ballard, 72, is going to prison for 20 years for attempted murder instead. While in custody for allegedly filing false tax returns in 2012, Ballard hatched a plan with another inmate to pay a hit man US$100,000 to either shoot the judge as he entered the courthouse or place a bomb in the judge’s car. The inmate, however, snitched on Ballard to federal agents before the plot could go anywhere. Ballard’s tax charges are still pending.

DOUBLE DUPE

Retailer targeted in second scam

Home Depot hasn’t had much luck lately in the fraud prevention department. First, two Michigan men came up with a price-tag swapping scheme that cost the retailer more than US$300,000 over two years (see Fraud, Scams and Shams, May 2014). Now a family in Calgary is charged with defrauding the chain out of $56,000 over a 19-month period ending last October. The five suspects — who collectively face 114 criminal charges — allegedly stole IDs out of parked cars and used them to apply online for Home Depot credit cards, which they then used to buy and resell store gift cards. Accused are Carol Lee Shepherd, 52; her husband, Darcy Frederick Shepherd, 50; their children, Jennifer Marie Shepherd, 27, and Andrew James Shepherd, 32; and his common-law wife, Sarah Annie Savoie, 30.

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