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Pair went on spree with cloned debit cards

Two young men who admitted cloning debit cards and using them to go on a spending spree were given conditional discharges in Magistrates’ Court this morning.

Prosecutor Alan Richards told the court that the pair, both from the Dominican Republic, were employed at Yo Cherry when they used a magnetic stripe card reader to copy other people’s debit card information onto their own cards. These were then used to make purchases in stores and restaurants.

At a previous court appearance in May, 21-year-old Yan Infante-Almanzar, of Pembroke, pleaded guilty to nine counts of dishonestly obtaining goods, one count of attempting to dishonestly obtain goods, one count of possessing a false instrument, and two counts of making false debit cards. The offences took place between January 26 and February 5.

Dariel Reyes-Nunez, 18, of Hamilton Parish, admitted five counts of dishonestly obtaining goods from various stores in Pembroke and making a false debit card on January 26.

Defence lawyer Christopher Swan, appearing on behalf of Infante-Almanzar, said his client bought the card reader with the intention of making loyalty cards for his mother’s nail salon and that he never intended to use it to commit the offences. Mr Swan added that his client was willing and able to repay the $2,534.45 obtained by deception.

Defence lawyer Marc Daniels, who represented Reyes-Nunez, said his client was not aware of the card reader or what was being done with it until after the duo went shopping.

Mr Daniels said Reyes-Nunez was asked by Infante-Almanzar if he wanted to go shopping and that he was told to hand over his card when he replied that he did.

But Mr Daniels added that his client did not turn himself in or return the items once he realised what was going on because he was “crippled” by fear of the consequences of his actions.

Through his stepfather, Infante-Almanzar told the court that he is very sorry for his actions and apologised to all those affected.

Reyes-Nunez also apologised, stating his actions were a mistake, but that he wasn’t fully aware of what was going on.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said the offences were “very serious”, involving fraud and theft, as well as technical knowledge and skill.

He added that their guilty plea, lack of prior convictions, apparent genuine remorse and their age also stood in their favour.

But he said an “absolute discharge is out of the question”, because the court “has to deal with this so it expresses society’s disapproval and discourages this type of behaviour”.

Mr Tokunbo added that he was also aware that a criminal conviction could affect the pair’s ability to travel to the Dominican Republic or their aspirations for college.

Mr Tokunbo gave Infante-Almanzar a two-year conditional discharge on the condition that he make full restitution and abide by conditions highlighted in the pre-sentencing reports. Reyes-Nunez received an 18-month conditional discharge with the same conditions as listed in the report for Infante-Almanzar.

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