BURLEY — A man and a woman were arrested and charged after police said they were part of an organization that used people’s account numbers and identities to make fake gift and financial cards. The cards were then used to purchase cigarettes to be sold out of state, police say.
Brian Koffi Botti, 19, and Auburnay L. Blissit, 21, are both charged with felony counts of forgery with a financial transaction card and criminal conspiracy. Botti is also charged with felony evidence destruction, alteration or concealment.
A Cassia County Sheriff’s officer pulled over a vehicle on July 5 with a Texas license plate after the sheriff’s office received information from the Twin Falls Police Department regarding a male and female matching their description who had purchased large amounts of cigarettes and other items at convenience stores and paid with fake or stolen credit cards.
Blissit, who was driving the vehicle, had an Arizona identification card.
When Botti, the passenger in the vehicle, pulled out his New York state driver’s license from his pocket, the officer noticed multiple credit cards in his pants pocket.
Botti was placed in the backseat of the officer’s patrol car and afterwards the officer found multiple gift and debit cards including an identification card stuffed under the patrol car’s front passenger seat. The identification card had the name Mike Williams on it, and a photo of Botti.
A search warrant was issued for the vehicle and officers found cartons of cigarettes, a card reader that had the ability to program debit and credit cards and a wallet containing multiple financial cards.
Blissit told officers the pair was involved in a scam to purchase cigarettes with other people’s financial information. She said they were in an organization that would use the magnetic reader-writer to make cards with stolen account numbers and then use the cards to purchase cigarettes to be transported to the state of New York and sold.
She said they had purchased cigarettes from various stores in Idaho and in other states.
Preliminary hearings in both cases are set at 9 a.m. on July 20 in Cassia County magistrate court.