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2 arrested with 100 fake credit cards at Costa Mesa hotel plead not guilty in ID theft and fraud case

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Costa Mesa police say they found more than 100 fake credit cards, several laptops with software for forging credit cards, blank debit and credit cards, an embosser and credit card skimmers in the hotel room of two people arrested last week.
(Courtesy of Costa Mesa Police Department)

A man and a woman accused of trying to use forged credit cards to rack up more than $1,600 in charges at a Costa Mesa hotel pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges Friday.

Aaron Michael Garcia, 35, of La Mirada and Joanna Nguyen, 31, of Garden Grove were arrested Wednesday, Costa Mesa police said.

Nguyen pleaded not guilty to five felony counts including second-degree burglary, access-card forgery and other fraud- and identity theft-related crimes, as well as two misdemeanor counts of using credit card skimmers and counterfeiting access cards.

Garcia pleaded not guilty to similar charges, including felony identity theft with a previous conviction.

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Several days after the couple checked into the hotel on Avenue of the Arts, they tried to extend their stay and presented a fraudulent credit card, according to police.

Hotel staff recognized one of the suspects from a previous such incident and alerted authorities, police said.

When officers contacted the suspects in their room, they found more than 100 fake credit cards, several laptops with software for forging credit cards, blank debit and credit cards, an embosser and credit card skimmers, police said.

Police said they also found account profiles and other personal information of an undetermined number of people.

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Detectives are continuing to investigate, police said.

Garcia and Nguyen are being held at Orange County jails and are scheduled back in court Feb. 20.


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