Brazilians sentenced to four years in prison for Vail credit card fraud previously hit Aspen stores
April 20, 2017
EAGLE — A pair of Brazilian men flew to the United States, their pockets stuffed with forged credit cards.
Jose Pinto De Oliveira Filho, 50, and Glennio Gomes De Andrade, 28, flew to the U.S. from Brazil on tourist visas, landed in Miami, and set off across the country buying electronics — mostly GoPro camera gear from brick-and-mortar retailers — using counterfeit credit cards to buy the gear, rent the cars and buy airline tickets.
They made their way through Indiana and Michigan, then up to Idaho before working their way down to Colorado.
After a frolic through the Denver metro area, Filho and Andrade made their way to the Vail Valley in October 2016. They stopped in Vail for some power shopping, then headed west.
The pair got as far as Avon, when police arrested them outside a sporting goods store. They had parked their rental car and were headed inside when they were arrested.
Along with forged credit cards and fake identification, investigators found a carload of electronics and clothes, all purchased with fake credit cards. The car in which all the stolen stuff was found, was rented with a fake card.
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Among the items recovered were 11 GoPro cameras, six Bose and Beats brand wireless headphones, several Apple TV units and numerous GPS devices.
FISTFUL OF FELONIES
The Brazilians both pleaded guilty to a fistful of felonies, and were each sentenced to four years in prison. To send them to prison, the local courts had to bring in an interpreter to speak Portuguese with them.
Federal authorities in Las Vegas has returned an indictment against 18 Brazilians for exactly this type of activity, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Joe Kirwan.
“These two are not named in that indictment, but have acquaintances on the list,” Kirwan said.
Deputy District Attorney Courtney Gilbert said the two are part of a larger web.
“It’s part of a large picture. They appear to have significant financial means,” Gilbert said.
They’ve also hit stores in Aspen and along the Front Range, Gilbert said.
Multiple agencies along the Front Range, including Littleton, Arvada and Aurora reported that two suspects, both Brazilian nationals, were using fake credit cards to make large purchases, Gilbert said.
They’ll have a hearing in August to reconsider their sentences. District Court Judge Russell Granger said he vacates a sentence once a year, if at all. He added that he never grants it simply because the convict doesn’t like being in prison.
“This sort of identity theft is a serious issue in this country,” Granger said.
Filho has already served 191 days in jail, and has paid back the money and returned the gear he stole.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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