Miami Bikini Model Accused of Funding Luxury Life With $2 Million Fraud
via ACompanioni's Twitter
Miami may not be considered a city of high manners, but some people get awfully awkward when you ask what exactly it is they do for a living. Not because you're breaking any of Emily Post's rules of etiquette by asking, but because they may be admitting to breaking some of Uncle Sam's rules by answering.
Take, for example, Patricia Perez-Gonzalez, 26, and her boyfriend, Alberto
The charmed couple was living a life of extravagance in the stereotypical way some outsiders think all Miamians live. But it turns out they may have been funding that opulent lifestyle with a complex criminal operation of credit card fraud.
Though most of their social media profiles have now been scrubbed, Twitter profiles that were left up give a peek into their lifestyle. It involved a downtown apartment, tickets to sporting events, fancy clothes, and dinners at fine restaurants such as STK.
Patricia was also an aspiring bikini model who tried to win a "hometown hottie" contest thrown by Maxim.
Turns out that to afford all of that Miami glamour, they allegedly committed more than $2 million in credit card fraud.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, on March 18 the pair was indicted in New York State Supreme Court on charges including grand larceny and identity theft.
Beginning in 2014, the couple stole people's personal information to obtain American Express personal cards, prosecutors say. The victims were primarily senior citizens, and the duo would have the cards sent to random locations.
They racked up charges on luxury vacations, designer clothes, and exotic cars. Trips included destinations such as New York, California, and Hawaii. The clothes came from status symbol labels like Hermès, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton. All the while, the elderly victims had no idea so much credit card debt was being racked up in their names.
More than 40 victims may be involved, and the charges totaled more than $2 million.
After search warrants were executed at the couple's various Miami properties, authorities found Rolex watches, racing bikes, ski gear, Chanel bags, and other pricey items. They also found evidence of the scheme, including some of the fraudulent credit cards and forged IDs.
The case is being filed in New York because that's the location of American Express's headquarters, but the Miami-Dade Police Department helped with the investigation.
It turns out Perez-Gonalez tried to run an actual business. She had an online boutique called Le Fashion Wheels. Feds believe the clothes she sold online, however, were purchased with the stolen cards.