Cops look for alleged credit card fraudster

Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat

Sonora and Modesto police continue searching for a Modesto woman wanted in connection with a massive credit card fraud scheme.

Her alleged partner in crime posted bail after being apprehended by Modesto police but authorities won't be searching for him unless he fails to appear in court, Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson said.

The fraud scheme may have netted the alleged crooks more than $100,000 in ill-gotten goods and services, with many of the transactions occurring in Tuolumne County, according to law enforcement officials.

Police are searching for Shatece Turner, 29, whose last known address was on Espana Drive in Modesto.

Stinson said Tuesday that while authorities have not located Turner, they discovered she has sought an attorney. He declined to give any details about her lawyer.

Turner and her alleged partner in crime, Jeremy Keturi, 35, could face prosecution in several counties, authorities said.

The Tuolumne County District Attorney's Office received Keturi's report on Tuesday and had his case listed as pending.

An arraignment had not been scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon.

Stinson said more than one district attorney's office could be prosecuting since fraudulent charges have been made in at least four counties.

Investigators have discovered transactions in Tuolumne, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties thus far, he said.

Keturi was arrested by Modesto police at a traffic stop on Feb. 13, after the Sonora Police Department asked other agencies to "be on the lookout" for him, Stinson said.

Keturi was booked into Stanislaus County Jail at 10 a.m. that day on several charges including grand theft, burglary, identity theft and conspiracy.

He was supposed to be transported to Tuolumne County Jail but posted bail in Modesto at 6 p.m., jail officials said.

The investigation into Keturi and Turner began on Feb. 10 when a Ventura County identity theft victim contacted the Sonora Police Department.

She said her credit card number was used to purchase thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at several Tuolumne County businesses. She, however, was still in possession of her card.

A Sonora police investigator contacted the businesses and obtained surveillance videos, lists of items purchased and other documentation.

A photo lineup pointed to Keturi and Turner as suspects, Stinson said.

Further linking suspects to the crime were pictures on Keturi's Facebook page of Turner wearing some of the allegedly stolen property and a ski trip that appeared to have been paid for with a fraudulent card.

Modesto and Sonora police searched Keturi and Turner's Espana Drive home on Feb. 13 and found about $10,000 worth of property believed to have been purchased with bogus cards. Some of the items were in their original packaging.

They also found credit card receipts totaling more than $100,000, dating back to June 2012, Stinson said.

"Most of the stolen property from Sonora was located inside the residence, as well as other stolen property," Stinson said.

Investigators also found several credit cards in other people's names, 500 credit card blanks with magnetic strips, an embosser and a credit card skimmer.

Stinson said many of the items used to manufacture cards are available online and through computer hardware and software retailers.

Lists of people's names, birthdays and Social Security numbers were also located inside the house.

It's not known how Turner and Keturi allegedly obtained the numbers, Stinson said.

The Union Democrat
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