Lethbridge police charge two men with fraud to local businesses; believe there’s more victims

LETHBRIDGE – Two medicine hat men are facing charges after police say they defrauded three Lethbridge businesses.

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During a week-long investigation, members of the Lethbridge Police Service Economic Crimes unit, alongside Medicine Hat Police, tracked the subjects’ activity as they used fake credit cards to purchase items. The men would attempt to use an admin card to manipulate the point of sale terminal, cards with no banking or financial labeling associated to them, and manually entering the numbers of the credit card. As a result, the transactions would display as approved, only for the merchant of the business to be later informed the card number is invalid.

Police located the subjects on July 14, but the men refused to stop and fled from officers. They were discovered a short time later in a south-side parking lot, and were arrested without further incident. During a search of the vehicle, officers recovered a small quantity of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, multiple credit and debit cards, a written list of what appears to be more credit card numbers, receipts, and an array of property, including electronics, liquor and cigarettes.

Police believe the men visited Lethbridge solely with the purpose of defrauding local businesses.

James Robert Stuart, 27, of Medicine Hat, is charged with breach of a recognizance, flight from a peace officer, possession of stolen property, fraud and two counts of attempted fraud.

Nicholas Dwaine Belanger, 27, of Medicine Hat, is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of stolen property, attempted fraud and fraud.

Both men made their first court appearance Monday morning and were remanded in custody. Their next court appearance is Wednesday.

Police believe there may be other victims, and are therefore, releasing photos of the men. If you recognize the suspects or believe that they may have attended or defrauded your business, you are asked to contact police at 403-328-4444.