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How a Naked Couple Boozing in a Parked Car Led to the Bust Of a Credit Card Fraud Ring
It all began with a naked couple drinking some booze while parked behind a Laguna Beach restaurant in the wee hours.
While cops were having a chat with 38-year-old Diandre Lemont Lopez and 21-year-old Diana May Andara, who were parked behind the White House Restaurant at 3 a.m. on September 19, they discovered "43 fraudulent gift cards and credit cards strewn across the front seat and dashboard of the car," according to the Coastline Pilot.
It seemed like something a bit more than some foolin' around was going on. That encounter sparked an investigation into the couple's suspected shady dealings.
Authorities traced activity to the Huntington Beach home of a third suspect, 22-year-old Charles Martin, who was also arrested.
The fraud scheme's ringleader was determined as being 46-year-old Dwight Christian Vaccaro of Costa Mesa, who was arrested on September 22. "Vaccaro reportedly obtained credit card information through unidentified individuals in chat rooms, where he would buy personal information such as account numbers." He would then make fake cards with new magnetic strips in new names, and sell them to members of his network.
So far, 95 phony gift and credit cards have been recovered in conjunction with Vaccaro's ring. Other suspects may be involved, and the investigation is ongoing. Authorities remind credit card users to monitor their statements for suspicious charges.