Alleged Ringleader of $200K Macy's Gift Card Fraud Ring Caught

The schemers scammed consumers and store locations across the state with bogus gift cards

By Christina Cocca
|  Sunday, Jun 23, 2013  |  Updated 11:59 AM PDT
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Arrest in $200K Macy's Fraud Ring

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Clockwise, Noemi Fuentefria, Daniel Alvarez, Geovani Vega, Justin Delgadillo and Richard Reyes Duenas are shown in booking photos in relation to a Macy’s gift card scam.

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The alleged ringleader of a $218,000 Macy’s theft scheme that targeted more than 40 stores in California has been arrested, officials said Friday.

Richard Reyes Duenas, 30, is the fifth and final suspect to be arrested in the alleged scheme. He was captured in Las Vegas on June 14 and had been on the run since he was arrested and released in 2010, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Detectives learned that Duenas, a woman and three men allegedly stole inactive gift cards, lifted their account numbers and associated PIN codes, and forged the information onto new, bogus cards they sold on the street, said Detective R. Barton, of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The group scammed consumers into buying the bogus cards and used them to buy Apple products from various Macy’s locations, Barton said.

Authorities discovered the plot after Duenas was pulled over on Dec. 6, 2010, for talking on his cell phone while driving.

After inciting a confrontation during the stop, he was taken into custody for resisting arrest, Barton said. Officials then found 16 phony Macy’s gift cards in his glove box.

He was released a few days later, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department soon began an investigation into the theft.

At least 41 Macy’s Department Stores were targeted in cities including Los Angeles, Culver City, Burbank, Redondo Beach, Thousand Oaks, Laguna Hills, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and Ventura.

After authorities captured Duenas in Las Vegas last week, he was extradited to Los Angeles and booked into the Walnut Sheriff’s Station on Wednesday.

In the three years that Duenas has been on the lam, his alleged accomplices have been prosecuted and released. Detectives arrested Justin Delgadillo, Noemi Fuentefria, Geovani Vega and Daniel Alvarez in May 2012.

Duenas is awaiting prosecution and is being held in lieu of $218,000 bail.

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