Stratford Police Nab New Yorkers for Alleged Credit Card Scam

Arrest information provided by the Stratford Police Department. It does not indicate convictions.

Two New York residents were arrested in Stratford Tuesday for allegedly using fake credit cards to purchase Visa debit and gift cards at several area CVS stores.

Maurice Philip, 22, and Pausha Johnson, 21, both of Queens, N.Y., were apprehended by local officers outside the CVS on Hawley Lane at around 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Inside the store, police said Philip attempted to use a fake American Express credit card -- with actual credit card information imprinted on it from a stolen Visa -- to purchase a notebook and a $400 Visa gift card.

When the card was declined, Philip told the cashier he didn't want the items and exited the store, according to police. Philips then entered a BMW where Johnson was waiting and attempted to leave the lot but was pulled over by officers, police said.

According to an investigator hired by CVS, the Visa debit and gift cards sold at the stores can't be traced and only have a dollar amount assigned to them. The investigator allegedly told Stratford police that Philip and Johnson were at a CVS in Bridgeport earlier in the day, attempting the same scam.

Darien police were also reportedly looking for Philip in connection to larcenies at CVS and Walgreens stores in that town.

Police said Philip denied attempting to purchase the $400 gift card inside the Hawley Avenue CVS. Philip said he went in to buy a notebook but changed his mind and left, according to police.

When asked if he'd been in Bridgeport earlier, Philip reportedly denied it. He continued to denied the allegations even after officers said they had video of him at two CVS stores in that city, according to police.

At that point, both Philip and Johnson were placed under arrest. A subsequent search of the vehicle allegedly found the following: a GPS unit with several CVS and Walgreens locations; four new notebooks; eight Visa Nascar debit cards; a Visa Vanilla gift card; and an AT&T talk and text card.

The investigator told officers the Visa Vanilla gift card had just been activated in the last 30 minutes, police said.

The duo was transported to headquarters where police allegedly found six American Express cards inside Johnson's shoe and nine American Express cards in Philip's shoe. Police said all 15 cards had Philip's name on them and all but one card number was stolen from a Visa account (one was taken from a MasterCard account).

Johnson said Philip gave her the six cards, while Philip refused to answer any questions, police said.

Johnson was charged with conspiracy to receive goods by illegal use of a credit card; interfering with police; and credit card theft (6 counts). She was held on $50,000 bond and is due in court Sept. 28.

Philip was charged with criminal attempt to receive goods by illegal use of a credit card; interfering with police; and credit card theft (9 counts). He was held on $75,000 bond and is also due in court Sept. 28.


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