You never know where two naked people boozing in a car outside a restaurant at 3 a.m. will lead you.
Police discovered such a couple near the White House Restaurant in Laguna Beach on Sept. 19 and were eventually led to a credit card fraud ring involving as many as six people.
The car the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) cops came upon not only had a stitch-less couple getting their drink on but 43 fraudulent gift and credit cards collecting dust on the front seat and dash.
After arresting Costa Mesa's Diandre Lemont Lopez, 38, and Diana May Andara, 21, detectives watched the home of Charles Martin, 22, of Huntington Beach, where cops say they found more phony credit cards, receipts and $800 worth of duds Martin is alleged to have bought with fraudulent plastic.
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Popping Martin led to the alleged ring leader, 46-year-old Dwight Christian Vaccaro, who was arrested at his Costa Mesa residence, where he allegedly received, altered and distributed the cards.
The Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot's Joanna Clay reports that Vaccaro is accused of buying personal information and credit card account numbers through chat rooms before obtaining cards based on victims generally from the East Coast. The cards' magnetic strips would be altered before members of the network bought or traded for the illegal cards.
So far, Laguna Beach police have a stack of 95 fraudulent credit and gift cards collected in the identity theft, commercial burglary and fraudulent use of access cards case--and at least two more outstanding suspects.
Vaccaro's rap sheet reportedly includes a 1991 federal conviction for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine.