Two charged in fraud case

Published 10:10 pm Monday, March 30, 2020

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One Newport News man is in custody, and another is being sought, after an investigation into fraud.

Christopher Phillips, 24, of the 4400 block of Radius Way in Newport News, has been arrested on five felony counts and two misdemeanors pertaining to credit card theft, identity theft and receiving money or goods as a result of credit card theft, according to a press release from the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office.

Marvin Thomas Pretto, 23, also of the 4400 block of Radius Way, is wanted on charges including credit card fraud, conspiracy and theft.

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The investigation was initiated by the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office more than five months ago after victims in certain geographical areas of the county began reporting identity theft and credit card fraud, the press release stated.

“Investigators, working with the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office, developed a theory that mail was being removed from rural mailboxes and then that information was used to steal the identity of individuals,” the release stated. “Subsequently credit card accounts were opened in the names of those individuals.”

It wasn’t until 30 days later that victims began receiving billing statements for these fraudulent accounts.

Similar activity was reported in Suffolk, Southampton County, Sussex County and Guilford County, N.C., the release stated.

Investigators received information that led them to execute a search warrant in the 4400 block of Radius Way in Newport News and subsequently arrest Phillips.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Pretto is asked to contact Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Tipsters can also submit tips by going to Tipsters never have to give their names or appear in court and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.