WPD charge two Florida men in international scheme to defraud Belk

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A scheme involving items bought at Belk department stores using stolen bank account information and then sold on the black market came to an end in Wilmington.

Wilmington Police arrested Henrique Teixeira Mendes De Almeida, 29, and Gustavo Teixeira Mendes De Almedia, 34, and charged them with 21 counts of forgery of instrument and one count obtaining property by false pretense.

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According to a news release from Wilmington Police, a notice with the Almeidas’s pictures was circulated to Belk employees earlier this month. A loss prevention officer with the Belk inside Independence Mall recognized the men from that notice and called 911.

The Almeidas were then seen at the Belk in Mayfaire, where officers apprehended them.

During a search of the rental car driven by the duo, officers found 94 credit cards, 102 Belk gift cards worth $300 each, dozens of Belk merchandise, a card scanning device, and an address list for every Belk in the South East, many of which had marks beside them denoting they had been visited.

The men also had numerous passports from different countries and other forms of ID with different names and information.

Although the credit cards were in their names, the magnetic strips correlated to stolen bank account information across the world.

The pair would use the stolen card information to purchase gift cards at Belk, then they would use the gift cards to purchase merchandise. They would then ship the merchandise to a home in Coral Springs, Florida, where they would sell it internationally on the black market.

WPD was assisted by the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigrations Customs & Enforcement, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Coral Springs Police Department