Sarasota deputies charge 2 men with credit card fraud after Walmart bust

June 12, 2014 

SARASOTA — Two Orlando men were arrested after trying to use cloned credit cards to attempt to buy pricey electronics and gift cards at a Sarasota Walmart store, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Ralph Brutus and Jeff Nezius, both 24, were arrested at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A deputy reportedly observed an Acura drive in to the store parking lot at 4381 N. Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. He saw Brutus enter the store while Nezius moved the car closer to the garden store entrance.

The deputy reportedly contacted a loss-prevention official, who said Brutus tried to buy a $369 iPad Mini but his card was declined. Nezius also entered and bought two gift cards for $250 each.

A deputy who approached the pair reported he could smell marijuana. He reportedly emptied Nezius’ pockets and found about 30 credit cards.

Brutus had four credit card, according to the deputy, with marks that appeared to be from rubbing names and numbers off the front.

Brutus is charged with principal to trafficking in counterfeit credit cards and Nezius is charged with trafficking in counterfeit credit cards.

Cloned or counterfeit credit cards are created using a swipe device that puts stolen account information on the magnetic strip on the back side of a blank or stolen card. The men were being each held in Sarasota County jail on $7,500 bond.

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