Marshall County's Grand Jury on Wednesday indicted two Florida men charged with buying gift cards with bogus credit cards at Wal-Mart last month.
However, the defendants could not be arraigned because there was no interpreter in court. An arraignment is set for April 6.
The 349-count indictment, with each charge on a separate sheet, creates a stack of paper nearly two inches thick. Five reams of paper were used to make all the necessary copies, Circuit Court Clerk Elinor Foster said.
Pedro Garcia, 40, of Miami, Fla., and Giraldo Volez, 36, of Homestead, a Miami suburb, are charged, separately and together, with multiple counts of forgery, illegal possession or fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, criminal simulation, theft, and identity theft. Photocopies of more than 80 different credit cards are part of the indictment.
"It was an unbelievable amount of paper work," exclaimed Lewisburg Police Detective James Johnson.
According to the arrest warrants, the two men were using the fake credit cards to buy gift cards at Wal-Mart here on Feb. 10.
"The best we can figure, they were selling the gift cards," Johnson said.
Once paid for, the gift cards might be untraceable, but Johnson said they were working on identifying people who might have bought them from Garcia and Volez.
Buying a small item and getting cash back would seem like a simpler way to turn a fake credit card into cash and Johnson said, "It seemed kind of odd to us, too."
As far as Johnson knows, the two men will go on trial in Marshall County, though they are reported to have been using fake credit cards elsewhere in Tennessee and also in Georgia.
According to a report on file at the Shelbyville Police Department, two Hispanic men and a woman used credit cards to buy gift cards at the Wal-Mart there on Jan. 31. The Shelbyville officer reported the Wal-Mart loss prevention employee showed him surveillance video of the trio using multiple credit cards to buy a total of $1,700-worth of gift cards.
"The persons would use credit cards that they said would not scan but had to be hand keyed in to purchase the gift card," the Shelbyville officer reported. The officer added that when one card was denied, the suspects produced another one, until a card was accepted.
Later, the Shelbyville police matched one of their suspects with the Marshall County Jail intake photo of Volez.
Indictment does not mean a person is guilty. That's determined by a guilty plea or by a trial.