2 allegedly used someone else’s debit, credit cards

1 allegedly wore a wig to hide identity in buying 2 cellphones using victim’s card

Two men, including one allegedly wearing a wig to hide his identity, purchased several items worth $1,577 from different stores on Saipan using the credit and debit cards of another person.

Korey Marok Leon, 19, and Steven Roman Tudela, 25, were arrested last week for misuse of financial instruments. A $20,000 cash bail was imposed each on the defendants.

According to police detective Jeffrey I. Norita, police officers responded to LJ Market in Gualo Rai last Jan. 17 after receiving a call about a theft incident.

Norita said the complainant reported that someone was swiping his credit card and that transactions were made to purchase items from three different establishments.

The complainant said he went to Computer Electronics in Garapan, which was the third time his credit card was swiped, where he reviewed the surveillance camera and saw a skinny man who purchased two cellular phones using his card.

The officer then reviewed the surveillance and found that the suspect, who was later identified as Leon, was riding a white Toyota Corolla with license plate ACU-125.

The officer put out an alert to all police units to be on the lookout for the car. That same day, Jan. 17, at 3pm, another police officer spotted the vehicle and stopped it at San Jose Church.

Tudela was the driver of the car and Leon was his passenger.

An employee of Computer Electronics was then brought to the church and positively identified Leon as the person who purchased the two phones.

Police searched the car, where they found two Ziplock baggies, including one containing a substance believe to be marijuana.

Police also found in one baggy the victim’s American Express card, Bank of Guam and Bank of Hawaii cards, one of the purchased phone, and other items.

The victim said in an interview with police that he received notification last Jan. 17 through his phone, alerting him that his card was used to purchase $289 worth of goods at Jin Li Store; the second was at Tres Marias Market for $380; and the third for $898 at Computer Electronics, all on the same day.

The victim said he noticed last Jan. 15 that his bag containing credit and debit cards were not in the drawer of his house in Kagman. He disregarded it, thinking he just misplaced them in his car. He said it was his Barclay credit card that was used at Jin Li Store, Tres Marias Market, and Computer Electronics. He said his Bank of Hawaii debit card was only used at Computer Electronics.

Norita said that during their interview with Leon last Jan. 18 at the Department of Corrections, Leon admitted that he received a call from Tudela last Jan. 17 that he was on his way to pick him up from his house in San Vicente. The two went to Tres Marias Market in San Vicente. Tudela gave Leon a credit card that indicated the victim’s name, and told him to buy cartons of cigarettes. Leon wore a wig provided by Tudela and bought cigarettes.

The two then proceeded to Computer Electronics in Garapan, where Leon used the same card to buy two phones worth $898.

Leon admitted that what he did was wrong, but that he was afraid of Tudela.

Leon said Tudela gave him two cards to use at Computer Electronics.

Norita said Tudela was also interviewed and confessed he rented a white Toyota Corolla from a shop along Middle Road and found several credit cards in the car.

Tudela said he used one of the cards to buy five cartons of cigarettes worth $289.

After Jin Li Store, Tudela said he picked up Leon and both went to Tres Marias Market in San Vicente, where Tudela handed the same card to Leon to buy cigarettes.

Tudela and Leon then proceeded to the Computer Electronics in Garapan, where Leon used the victim’s two cards to purchase two phones.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.