Midwood man indicted for credit card forgery
A Brooklyn man has been indicted for allegedly forging more than 100 credit and gift cards to rack up high-end purchases from luxury retailers, including Gucci and Prada. The defendant has also been indicted in a separate case for allegedly forging a North Carolina driver’s license.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Berlioz Florestal, 20, of Midwood, Brooklyn. He was arraigned Monday in Brooklyn Supreme Court on an indictment in which he is charged with 223 counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and other forgery-related charges. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on July 28, 2022.
The investigation began on Nov. 18, 2021, following a search of the defendant’s apartment by law enforcement officers.
During the search, officers allegedly found 110 forged credit and gift cards scattered or hidden throughout the defendant’s apartment, as well as multiple credit card skimming devices and readers, a credit card-embossing machine, three packs of magnetic strips, validation stickers, a forged driver’s license and approximately $3,300 in cash.
Among the counterfeit cards were 40 Visa gift cards, 17 Vanilla gift cards, 32 Mastercard gift cards and an additional 21 gift cards from various financial institutions, including Bank of America, Citibank, Capital One, Chase, Discover, Wells Fargo and American Express.
According to the investigation, the defendant is alleged to have used the fake credit and gift cards, in part, to purchase clothing from high-end retailers, including Gucci and Prada.
Gonzalez added that on April 24, at 12:45 p.m., Florestal was stopped by police driving a 2017 BMW near Cropsey Avenue in Coney Island for excessively tinted windows. Officers allegedly discovered the defendant was driving with a suspended license, and they arrested him.
When Florestal was searched at the 60th Precinct stationhouse, a forged North Carolina driver’s license was allegedly found in his pants pocket. According to the investigation, a credit card-embossing machine was later found wrapped in a black garbage bag in the BMW’s trunk, along with a hologram sticker of the Delaware state seal.
DA Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly ran a sophisticated and high-tech operation to manufacture fake credit and gift cards to fund expensive shopping sprees as well as a fake driver’s license. As long as scammers insist on stealing from retailers and financial institutions, my office will continue to do everything we can to ensure that they are stopped and held accountable for their crimes.”
Florestal was also arraigned on a separate indictment in which he is charged with three counts of second-degree forgery, three-counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and other forgery related charges for allegedly driving with a fake North Carolina driver’s license.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tammy Chung of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Boykin and Assistant District Attorney Glenn Singer, deputy chiefs of the Green Zone Trial Bureau.
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