LOS ANGELES – Richard Reyes Duenas has been arrested once again in a fraud case involving forged Macy’s gift cards, and was sent from Las Vegas to be booked in the L.A. Sheriffs Walnut Station charged with multiple counts of fraud, forgery and grand theft.
The case began when Duenas was stopped for a traffic violation in December of 2010. As a self described ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Duenas apparently did not intend to recognize the authority of the officer, became combative, and prompted his own arrest and a search of his vehicle. ‘Sovereign Citizens’ belong to a movement that denies any authority over them by federal, state and local laws, respecting only ‘common law’ as a guide to their behavior. Oftentimes they reject US currency and taxation, denying their obligation to participate in the collection and filing of taxes. The FBI classifies members of this movement as potential terrorist threats and anti government extremists. Duenas’ actions on that day, however, resulted in the discovery of 16 fraudulent Macy’s gift cards, and led to a deeper investigation of his activities.
According to a press release, detectives from the Commercial crimes Bureau learned that Duenas had found a way to obtain Macy’s gift card account numbers and their associated PIN numbers. Using stolen, but inactive gift cards, he found a way to add value to those cards, which were then sold to consumers by a team of his associates. He and his team also used cards to make purchases themselves, including Apple electronics products. Though he may have rejected the validity of US currency, Duenas had no problem dealing in Macy’s cash, and he and his team were connected with approximately $218,000 worth of theft in gift card value. Forty one Macy’s stores were targeted, from Oakland down to San Diego, but most of which were in the LA County area.
Duenas’ sales team consisted of Brent Justin Delgadillo of Norwalk, Noemi Fuentefria of Paramount, Geovani Vega of Chino Hills, and Daniel Alvarez of La Habra. All four were arrested on May 16th and 17th, 2012, and were charged on counts of grand theft, conspiracy to commit fraud, access card forgery, and acquiring access card information to commit grand theft. The four were successfully prosecuted by the LA County DA’s office. Their ringleader, however, remained a fugitive from justice.
Recently, however, the Commercial Crimes Bureau detectives got a tip that Duenas was now living in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was contacted, and officers placed him under arrest on Wednesday, and sent him to L.A. for booking under the same charges his four compatriots faced.
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