Washoe Sheriff's Office Breaks Up Credit Card Forgery Ring - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Washoe Sheriff's Office Breaks Up Credit Card Forgery Ring

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Harold Erik Gross Harold Erik Gross
Heather Anne Vanus Heather Anne Vanus
Willie J. Dixon Willie J. Dixon
Sean Patrick McKelvie Sean Patrick McKelvie

Washoe County Sheriff's Office Detectives say they've broken up a local credit card forgery ring following an investigation that started after Sheriff's Detention Facility employees detected suspicious activity involving an inmate's cash account.

Detectives say the Sheriff's Office contracts with private companies to provide a banking system in which family members can deposit money into an inmate's account to provide commissary supplies, email use, video visiting, and bail money if necessary.

Detectives say on January 13th, detention facility booking employees noticed that an inmate was leaving the facility with more money than when he was booked into the facility.

They say an investigation led detectives to an area credit card forgery lab.

"In this case, when we seized computers relative to the search warrant, we located thousands and thousands of credit card numbers," said Sgt. Dennis Curry with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. "These are credit card numbers that actually belong to people. They had their personal information, they had their addresses, they had the three digit security codes, they had the credit card numbers. In many cases, it showed how much has been spent on these credit cards."

Four people were arrested and charged in the investigation: 40-year-old Harold Erik Gross, 33-year-old Heather Anne Vanus, 53-year-old Willie J. Dixon and 35-year-old Sean Patrick McKelvie.

Investigators say they found thousands of stolen credit card numbers, along with mailing and email addresses, security codes and expiration dates. They say the credit card accounts come from various parts of the United States and that no Washoe County residents have been identified as victims.

Sergeant Curry says nobody from Washoe County was a victim of this credit card forgery ring, but this is a reminder to all of us that there are things you need to do to protect yourself from becoming the next victim.

"Often times, these transactions will occur in very small dollar amounts, so where it's not as noticeable. A five thousand dollar transaction will be very noticeable, but a fifty dollar transaction may not be as noticeable. We encourage people to really pay attention to their bank statements to try and prevent this."

For more information on how to keep yourself safe from identity theft, go to the "Staying Safe" page of www.washoesheriff.com.

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