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Napa man arrested in connection with $76,000 in credit card fraud, released after four hours
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Napa man arrested in connection with $76,000 in credit card fraud, released after four hours

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Napa Police have announced the arrest of a former hotel employee in connection with several months of fraudulent purchases using stolen credit card numbers.

At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, officers arrested Matthew Jacob Prieto, 30, at a home in the 1100 block of Napa Street. He was booked into the Napa County jail on six felony counts, including identity theft, forgery, commercial burglary and embezzlement, but was released after four hours due to California' suspension of bail for some offenses to lessen jail crowding during the coronavirus epidemic, police reported in a news release.

While working in a Napa hotel in late 2019, Prieto stole credit card data and personal information of more than 200 guests, Napa Police said. Over the next six months, he and several unnamed co-conspirators used the pilfered data to make fraudulent purchases totaling more than $76,000 at businesses in Napa, Yountville, Suisun City and online, according to the department, which said he an his associates also traveled to Las Vegas and Hawaii using victims' credit cards.

In most cases, Prieto gave out stolen card numbers over the phone, then went to a business to pick up purchased items, according to police. He also attempted to use credit card data to pay rent and electrical bills, police said.

Napa Police said it was alerted to the scheme by a local business owner in March, and began to identify cardholders and merchants who were victimized.

The warrant search Thursday that preceded Prieto's arrest turned up stolen credit card information as well as illegally purchased luxury goods including Louis Vuitton shoes and Gucci purses, along with “certificates of rehabilitation” awarded to him in 2019, according to police.

The investigation is continuing into other potential suspects and victims. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Napa Police Sgt. Todd Shulman at 707-257-9575 or tshulman@cityofnapa.org.

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You can reach Howard Yune at 707-256-2214 or hyune@napanews.com

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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