Trial set in credit card fraud case

Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat

A Modesto man and woman will stand trial July 24 for allegedly conducting a large credit card fraud scheme, with many of the transactions occurring in Tuolumne County.

Jeremy Keturi, 35, and Shatece Turner, 29, pleaded not guilty in Tuolumne County Superior Court on Monday to 24 felonies. The District Attorney's Office is charging each of them with one count of identity theft and one count of commercial burglary for every transaction in the county.

Defense Attorney Alonzo Gradford, of Modesto, asked that the court waive the defendants' rights to a speedy trial because he intends to file motions. Keturi and Turner signed waivers to allow Gradford to represent both of them, acknowledging a possible conflict of interest.

District Attorney Mike Knowles said he predicts a lengthy trial because there are many witnesses in the case. Judge Eric DuTemplescheduled the trial for four days.

The Sonora Police Department discovered 12 transactions at nine area businesses: Earth and Ocean Boardshop, Shell, PetSmart, Baskin-Robbins, Applebee's, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Safeway, Beauty Nails and Walmart.

The transactions totaled more than $2,000, although investigators believe the suspects received more than $100,000 worth of ill-gotten goods and services from several counties.

The investigation began Feb. 10, when an identity theft victim from Ventura contacted Sonora police. She said her card had been used at several Tuolumne County businesses on Feb. 9 and 10, but she was still in possession of her card.

Sonora police obtained transaction records and surveillance footage from the businesses and presented photo lineups. All evidence pointed to Keturi and Turner as suspects, police said.

Modesto and Sonora police searched their Espana Drive home on Feb. 13 and reportedly found about $10,000 worth of property believed to have been purchased with counterfeit cards.

Police said they also found:

• Credit card receipts totaling more than $100,000, dating back to June 2012;

• At least 20 cards imprinted with Keturi's name and different card numbers;

• 500 credit card blanks with magnetic strips, an embosser and a credit card skimmer;

• Lists of people's names, birthdays and Social Security numbers.

Modesto police arrested Keturi on Feb. 13, and he was booked into Stanislaus County Jail, where he posted $75,000 bail later that day.

A warrant was issued for Turner's arrest, and she appeared in court on March 14 to surrender herself at Keturi's arraignment. She also was arraigned at that time and was remanded into custody at Tuolumne County Jail, where she posted $30,000 bail.

Their trial is scheduled for 8 a.m. July 24 in Department 2.

A trial readiness conference is slated for July 1 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 1.

The Union Democrat
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