Bogus credit card, bank scam allegedly paid for woman's online shopping, weekend getaways

Jeff Bobo • Mar 4, 2016 at 3:20 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — A Hawkins County woman who was arrested Monday for allegedly opening a credit card account in her former boss’ name, was arrested again Thursday with an accomplice for allegedly scamming her bank out of $7,000 to take “weekend getaways to Atlanta.”

Leslie Danielle Bethea, 33, 1038 Cedar Hills Drive, Church Hill, was charged by the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Monday with fraudulent use of a credit card and two counts of identity theft.

The HCSO investigation began on Dec. 21 when Bethea’s former supervisor at H&R Block reported that a PayPal credit card account had allegedly been opened in her name by Bethea in October.

The victim stated that $1,180 worth of fraudulent purchases had been made on that credit card. It was alleged that the card was used for online shopping.

HCSO Detective John Pruitt learned that the victim’s personal information was used to open the credit card account, but was linked to Bethea’s PayPal account, and the email address and phone number listed belong to Bethea.

The victim told the HCSO that she’s also been informed that a Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard account application had been submitted in her name as well.

Upon being interviewed by Pruitt, Bethea allegedly admitted to opening the PayPal account and applying for the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard in the victim’s name.

On Thursday, Surgoinsville Police Department Chief James Hammonds charged Bethea with four counts of theft over $1,000 stemming from an alleged check scam perpetrated at the Surgoinsville branch of Capital Bank.

On Oct. 15, Bethea allegedly deposited a $2,500 check into her Capital Bank account which was written on her husband’s Kingsport Credit Union account, which didn’t have sufficient funds.

Hammonds said that Bethea deposited three checks on Nov. 8, 11, and 14 in the amount of $1,500 each into her Capital Bank account which had been written on a closed account from Eastman Credit Union belonging to Larisa Ann Cook, 35, 162 Shanks Gap Road No. 11, Rogersville.

Hammonds said that the funds from the bad checks were credited to Bethea’s Capital Bank account before it was discovered the checks were no good.

Bethea was then allegedly able to withdraw the funds from her ATM, knowing that the checks were no good, Hammonds said.

Upon being interviewed by Hammonds, both Bethea and Cook allegedly admitted to their parts in the scam and stated they used the funds to take weekends trips together to Atlanta.

Cook was charged by Hammonds with three counts of theft over $1,000.

Both were released from the Hawkins County Jail Thursday on $1,000 bond.                          

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