Fleming Island, FL

2 men arrested for placing fraudulent gift cards on Fleming Island Walmart shelves, deputies say

Zoey Fields

Two men from Largo, Florida, were arrested in Fleming Island on Halloween Day in an attempt to defraud the Walmart on County Road 220.

According to the arrest report, Clay County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at approximately 12:54 p.m. to the Walmart, 1505 County Road 220, and a Walmart employee told them the two men placed fraudulent gift cards on the store shelves.

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Two men arrested for placing fraudulent gift cards on Fleming Island Walmart shelves.Walmart Inc.

An agent with the Sheriff’s Office said that an unknown number of individuals are currently engaged in a statewide fraud scheme to steal a large number of gift cards from Walmart stores. Each fraudulent card had its security code already scratched off meaning, in theory, the money has already been spent and the card has no money on it.

The Walmart employee told deputies the two suspects left in a white Camaro.

Deputies located the Camaro at the intersection of County Road 220 and Highway 17 in the left turn lane, turning north onto Highway 17. They followed the vehicle, while also calling for additional help to assist with the traffic stop, the arrest report said.

Deputies followed the vehicle northbound on Highway 17 and pulled the men over as they attempted to make a left turn, headed south on Highway 17, the report said.

The driver, Ramon Humberto Castaneda Otero, 26, of the 13000 block of Rodgers Ave. in Largo was asked to step out of the vehicle. It was noted that Otero does not speak English. A sheriff’s deputy was able to translate.

Otero gave deputies his wallet and no driver’s license or ID card was found, the report said. Six Walmart gift cards were found in his wallet, each with the numbers on the back scratched off.

The second individual was originally labeled as a “John Doe,” or unknown person, because he did not provide a name or valid ID, the arrest report said.

A deputy informed both men of their Miranda Rights in Spanish and they were transported to Clay County Jail for charges of attempting to defraud. They have since posted bail.

Otero has a court date set for Tuesday, Nov. 29, in Courtroom 12 of the Clay County Courthouse. It is unknown if the identity of “John Doe” has been determined, though the arrest report suggests deputies have an idea of the man’s identity.

Walmart pulled all of the gift cards they had on display to prevent the sale of the fraudulent cards. The number of cards placed on the shelves by the two men is unknown at this time.

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