Crime

‘She even had the same purse,’ casino guard tells police of suspect in Walmart video

Surveillance video helps police make arrest in credit card fraud case

Pass Christian Police are asking the public’s help in identifying a woman in connection with a credit card fraud case.
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Pass Christian Police are asking the public’s help in identifying a woman in connection with a credit card fraud case.

A casino security officer in Biloxi thought a patron resembled a woman shown in a picture and video published by the media to help police find a suspect in a case of credit card fraud.

The security officer, who works for the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, noticed the patron seemed to be wearing the same clothes.

“He went back and looked at the picture and she even had the same purse,” Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks said.

The security department’s call to Biloxi police led to the arrest of Yilka Ocana Martinez on two counts of credit card fraud, Hendricks said.

There could be other charges for the 33-year-old Florida woman, who’s in the U.S. on a visa and with a driver’s license showing a Miami address.

“At least two Coast law enforcement agencies believe she is a person of interest in their cases of credit card fraud,” Hendricks said.

“We will be talking to the FBI because, in talking to the woman, she says she has been in different states. I don’t know if other people are involved. Someone was with her at the casino. But this could help shut down an operation that is using people’s information to make cloned cards.”

The two counts of fraud involve the use of a “cloned” card at the Walmart in Pass Christian on Dec. 21, and a similar incident investigators found from August, Hendricks said.

Martinez was booked at the Harrison County jail about 3:23 a.m. Thursday. Later Thursday, the jail placed a hold on her on a similar charge from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

Pass Christian police released the video Wednesday after a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, man told them someone had used his credit card information to make a purchase at the Walmart in Pass Christian. The man told investigators he has never been to Pass Christian, was in possession of his credit card and had never loaned it to anyone.

“She is using other people’s names and card information to put on cards and is loading money on prepaid credit cards,” Hendricks said.

Justice Court Judge Brandon Ladner set her bonds at a total of $20,000. Martinez was being held with no bond on the Jackson County charge pending a court appearance.

“This just shows that the Coast as a whole is one big community, kind of like a metropolitan area,” Hendricks said. “We can’t thank area law enforcement enough for getting involved.”

Anyone with information about Martinez is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898 or give a tip online at mscoastcrimestoppers.com.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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