Police, investigating a credit card scam connected with a Brainerd residence, uncovered about $20,000 worth of merchandise Thursday that had been bought with phony and stolen credit cards.
Brainerd Police Investigator Bruce London said he received a call from a clothing company in Texas called Willliamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., that stated it had several thousands of dollars in purchases with fraudulent credit cards, one of which was sent to Brainerd.
The address on the purchase was for a northeast Brainerd home, and London said when he went to the front porch there were several boxes sent by United Parcel Service from the Texas company. Inside the house there were several more boxes of merchandise from companies all over the United States.
"The whole house was loaded with stuff," said London.
Merchandise included everything from clothing to jewelry to electronics, said Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc.
What took place at the Brainerd residence was a credit card shipping scam, said London. A woman at the house had been contacted on a Yahoo! chat line by a person in Africa. The two agreed that the person in Africa would buy merchandise on the Internet and have it shipped to the Brainerd residence. And then, using a prepaid account sent up by the African contact at a shipping company, the woman would send the merchandise to Africa.
"It's a national epidemic right now," said London.
No arrests have been made in the fraud scheme. London said the FBI is assisting the Brainerd Police Department in the investigation. The Brainerd woman has been cooperative with police officers, said London.
Bolduc had no comment on the woman's role in the fraud scheme. He said once the investigation is complete the merchandise will be sent back to the rightful owners.
Bolduc advised people to be careful when making transactions on the Internet with people or corporations they are unfamiliar with, especially if they are based overseas.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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