Use of stolen credit cards and identities to book vacation rentals in Summit County brings felony theft charges against Denver man
A Denver man accused of using stolen credit cards to book vacation rentals for Summit County visitors was charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor.
The 42-year-old man was charged with felony theft of $5,000 to $20,000, felony identity theft, misdemeanor criminal possession of a financial device and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, a felony charge, according to court records. He was arrested on Aug. 9 by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office after extradition. His bond was set at $20,000.
He also has pending cases in Montrose and Grand counties.
The case in Summit County began when a property manager called the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to report possible fraud case involving one of SkyRun Vacation Rentals’ Summit County properties, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
The manager gave the following account, according to court records: The property was rented under the name of a woman whose last name was Walker. The rental had a check out day of March 10, 2019. While cleaning the home, members of the cleaning crew noticed two televisions, a DVD player and a wireless printer were missing from the rental property. The property owner’s closet had also been broken into. The missing TV, DVD player and printer reportedly amounted to about $1,020 in value.
The property owner also stated she was missing several appliances, including TV sound bars, a Dyson vacuum, a coffee machine and more, all worth more than $1,000 in total, the affidavit reads.
Investigator’s from the Sheriff’s Office hopped on the case on March 21, 2019. That day, from a general internet search, an investigator found a “FRAUD ALERT!” post on Facebook linking the same phone number as the one used by “Walker,” the affidavit states. The post mentions two more names: the Denver man who was subsequently arrested and his girlfriend.
Later, on March 27, 2019, the property manager told investigators the same credit card linked to “Walker” had been used again to book a SkyRun property. This time, however, it was made under the last name Poli, and it was booked through a travel agent named “Michelle.” The manager said the total amount believed to be scammed by “Michelle” came to $6,448.01, the manager’s email in the affidavit shows.
Investigators connected with a member of Poli’s party via email on April 2. The party member said a person named “Ben,” whom they met on the chairlift at Keystone, said “Michelle” could hook them up with discounted lift tickets. He also said “Michelle” could get them a place to stay for $300 for two nights, an amount the party members said was low but figured would be the case on such short notice. The party member said they stayed the nights and paid “Michelle” afterwards, although the PayPal account “seemed off,” the party member’s email in the affidavit reads.
Investigators called phone numbers linked to the woman with the last name Walker on June 13, 2019. Family members said Walker was in Florida at the time SkyRun was booked. Investigators also learned her husband’s credit card — the same one used to book the rental — had been lost while at Disney World from Feb. 24 to March 9, 2019.
Walker’s husband showed investigators several fraudulent transactions made with his credit card, involving many Vail Resort properties, two transactions with SkyRun, one transaction with Book Copper Colorado, one with Eldora Web Sales and one at the Courtyard Marriott in Westminster. All were made between March 8, 2019, and March 11, 2019, and in total they amounted to more than $10,000 in charges, according to the affidavit
The PayPal account mentioned above was linked to man with the last name Fairbanks. The affidavit shows four PayPal accounts were open in Fairbanks’ name as of April 30, 2019.
Investigators spoke to the man with the last name Fairbanks on June 13, 2019. Fairbanks told investigators he, while homeless, met a man named “James” who offered Fairbanks a hotel rooms to stay in in exchange for access to Fairbanks’ Paypal account.
Fairbanks met investigators on July 26, 2019 and asked him to identify “James” from a photo lineup. Fairbanks said “James” was in the lineup, but Fairbanks refused to fully identify him, saying he wasn’t a “snitch,” the affidavit reads. A photo of Denver man was in the lineup.
Previously, the Denver man was arrested for renting condos in Keystone with a stolen credit card, and his girlfriend was also arrested in February 2018, the affidavit reads.
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