Women face more charges in credit card fraud cases
EAGLE — Two women arrested for multiple credit card fraud cases also face racketeering charges.
Vanessa Ravare and Cynthia Johnson weren’t difficult to find. They’re already in the Eagle County jail.
An arrest warrant says Ravare tried to get a cash advance from a Silverthorne bank. According to Silverthorne police, she was using fraudulent paperwork to do it.
Prosecutors say Johnson and Ravare were working together, doing the same thing in banks and financial institutions up and down the Western Slope’s Interstate 70 corridor.
The bank staff had been notified of the scheme after a similar attempted fraud in Frisco resulted in Johnson’s arrest a week earlier.
Both cases were moved to Eagle County. Johnson’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Johnson faces a total of 27 felony counts — the most severe is the racketeering charge, or violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.
“Because of the complexity of this case and the number of law enforcement agencies involved, it was appropriate to bring it to Eagle County for resources in handling this case,” said 5th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum, who’s handling the case.
What prosecutors say they did
The suspects allegedly used the same scheme between banks, attempting to get cash advances on forged Capital One credit cards and using false identification. When the card was denied, they reportedly told the teller that the credit card company was not aware of their travel plans and told bank employees to call the number on the back of the card. For that call, another accomplice would pose as a Capital One customer service representative.
Johnson allegedly obtained a $4,850 cash advance from an Alpine Bank in Avon under the identity of Deborah Brendel, and later attempted to use the same identity at a branch in Frisco. That one ended with her arrest. She was also known to use the alias Jacquelyn Murray.
The current investigation reaches across western Colorado, including multiple towns in Summit County, Eagle County, Mesa County and Garfield County across the I-70 corridor.
Prosecutors say the women targeted multiple banks across the state, including chain Alpine Bank, which reported a total loss of $37,550 from the combined scams.
Ravare, in total, faces one count of violation of COCCA, five counts of identity theft, one count of unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, one count of theft, five counts of criminal impersonation, two counts of criminal attempt to commit theft and one count of possession of a forged instrument.
According to Colorado law, to establish a COCCA violation, prosecutors must show that two or more acts of racketeering activity occurred within a 10-year period.
“The affidavit alleges that she took part in the same criminal activity as did Ms. Johnson,” McCollum said. “It wouldn’t make sense to charge only one individual with that crime; you would in essence need two or more.”