Nassau traffic stop leads to Elmhurst credit scam

By James DeWeese

Nassau County police decided to dig a bit deeper after East Elmhurst native Andrew Morgan allegedly proffered a fake Connecticut driver's license when he was pulled over Jan. 12 in Syosset, L.I., for talking on his cell phone without a hands-free device, said Detective Sgt. Steven Pastor. Further investigation into Morgan, who was said to be carrying a number of credits cards in other people's names at the time of his arrest, led police to an East Elmhurst apartment stocked with high-tech tools to turn out fake credit cards, which authorities suspected were used to make purchases possibly destined for resale on the black market.As part of the joint investigation involving Nassau police, the U.S. Secret Service and the district attorney's office, authorities also arrested Jamaica native Orpheus Hewitt while he was at a location on 99th Street in Elmhurst, Pastor said. Pastor would not say what led authorities to Hewitt, saying only that he was arrested after Morgan was questioned. “I know they were in fact buying items with stolen information,” Pastor said. “Whether or not they were successfully selling or fencing that, we would make the supposition that that was the plan.”Pastor said exactly how the men allegedly obtained the information they would use to encode and emboss the cards was still under investigation.”Some of the credit information was stolen as information,” Pastor said. “Some it was intercepted from physically stolen credit cards.”Morgan and Hewitt were both charged with forgery and a host of other related counts after police said they turned up gadgets designed to encode and decode credit cards' magnetic strips and 30 blanks cards inside an East Elmhurst apartment, authorities said. Pastor said the apartment did not belong to either one of the men and that others were still being sought in connection with the alleged forgery mill.”We're looking for other people,” Pastor said. “The investigation is ongoing.”Morgan and Hewitt were arraigned in Nassau County Criminal Court last Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the Nassau Country district attorney's office. Morgan was released on $50,000 bail. Hewitt was released on $20,000 bail.The pair were slated to appear in court again Friday.Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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