A 25-year-old Florida man suspected of using counterfeit credit card to make purchases totaling about $200,000 from stores in more than 20 states has been jailed in Missoula.
Felipe Perez-Reyes is charged with one count of felony theft here, but during his initial appearance in Missoula County Justice Court this week Deputy County Attorney Karla Painter said an FBI agent told her federal charges are being considered as well.
Perez-Reyes was arrested Monday after a loss prevention officer at Sportsman's Warehouse reported to Missoula police that he was in the store.
According to an affidavit, the company had issued a nationwide alert to employees because Perez-Reyes is believed to have fraudulently purchased more than $60,000 worth of merchandise from its stores.
A police officer who came to the store located Perez-Reyes after he allegedly purchased two Swarovski optics worth $4,428 using a credit card with the name Carlos Luis Garcia on it. The account had already been closed because of fraud.
The police officer arrested Perez-Reyes on a nationwide no-bail extradition warrant from Nebraska, the affidavit stated.
The Nebraska warrant was issued in late March after Perez-Reyes was charged with making fraudulent credit card purchases totaling more than $6,000 from a Lincoln-based sporting goods store in November 2015. In that case, he faces one felony count of theft by deception.
When Perez-Reyes was searched at the Missoula County jail, law enforcement allegedly found 13 credit cards, six of which were issued to the Garcia alias. Perez-Reyes also had a Nevada license with the Garcia alias and a different birthday on it, in addition to his real Florida driver's license.
According to the affidavit, Detective Stacy Lear learned Perez-Reyes is also suspected of making fraudulent purchases last weekend at the Missoula and Kalispell Cabela's Outpost stores.
On Saturday, he allegedly bought $3,523 in merchandise from the Cabela's in Missoula using a Garcia credit card that wasn't recovered when he was arrested. On Sunday, he allegedly spent $3,253 at the Kalispell Cabela's using another unrecovered Garcia credit card.
According to the affidavit, Lear spoke with an FBI agent in Wisconsin who said Perez-Reyes is suspected of using counterfeit credit cards in thefts totaling about $200,000 in more than 20 states.
Painter said Thursday she doesn't know which other states are involved in the investigation.
She said it appears Perez-Reyes was paying for high-end merchandise using credit card numbers associated with accounts that were already closed or canceled.
"Unfortunately, the stores don't find out about it until too late," she said.
Painter said he was only found because Sportsman's Warehouse sent out the nationwide alert to employees and the loss prevention officer at the Missoula store recognized Perez-Reyes.
In Missoula County Justice Court on Wednesday, Painter said the warrant and criminal information from Nebraska indicated authorities were concerned Perez-Reyes would possibly flee to Cuba.
"And we don't have our extradition from Cuba set up yet, do we?" Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech jokingly asked Painter.
Orzech set Perez-Reyes' bail at $200,000, the amount Painter requested, and said if he is released, he is not to enter either Sportsman's Warehouse or Cabela's.
Painter said the Wisconsin FBI agent she spoke to told her the agency is in the process of executing search warrants related to Perez-Reyes, the results of which could lead to federal charges.
A spokesperson for the FBI's office in Milwaukee said the agency doesn't comment on ongoing criminal investigations.