NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County


Report: Florida No. 1 state for fraud

Posted at 7:43 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 04:09:30-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A report showing data from the Federal Trade Commission revealed Florida is the number one state in the country for fraud.

Miami is apparently the worst place for it, but law enforcement agencies say some of those criminals are targeting the Treasure Coast.

For Stuart Police Officer Cory Lee his day starts on the road.

"I try to spend seven hours and 59 minutes of my 8-hour shift on the road because I don't do well in the office,” he said.

That puts Lee closest to the call.

"It’s a lot to do with you know just being in the right place at the right time,” he said.

A couple of weeks ago he was in the right place. While investigating several reports of credit card fraud at gas stations, Lee says caught his suspect in the act. It happened at the Racetrack gas station on Northwest Federal Highway in Stuart.

He was reviewing the surveillance video with the store manager when he noticed a familiar truck.

"I gave him a description of the vehicle and the time on it. And he goes okay watch this camera right here with the red truck on it. I said the red truck? He goes yes, it's got rims. I looked at my footage from WAWA the exact same truck is parked at the pump,” he recalled.

He says the truck was rigged with a fuel tank underneath, extending almost the whole length of the car. Lee searched the suspect's wallet and found five gift cards containing stolen credit information.

He says fraud on the Treasure Coast involving criminals from down south is becoming more common.

"Since the beginning of this year I've never had a fuel theft or organized crime using these credit cards,” he said. Now, it's happened so so often that we become very aware of how the situation might unfold."

Now residents are taking extra precautions.

"I like to use my gas cards because then I don't feel uncomfortable at the gas pump because it's a prepaid card and I don't have to worry about my numbers being stolen,” Diane said.