Stuart police accuse Miami woman of stealing, using 9 credit cards

Feb 11, 2018
Vanessa Cortes (courtesy Stuart Police Department)

A 35-year-old Miami woman was arrested and charged with criminal use of personal information after police said nine credit cards belonging to the victim and a counterfeit Florida driver license was found in her possession.

Vanessa Cortes, 35, of Miami, was also charged with four counts of grand theft and three counts of fraud. She is being held on a $40,000 bond.

On Friday, Stuart Police responded to investigate a theft of a wallet in Home Goods. The victim reported that she was shopping at Home Goods and received an alert that her credit card was being used at a Jensen Beach Best Buy.

That’s when the victim realized her wallet was stolen from her purse, which contained several credit cards, $600 in cash and her driver license.

Another officer responded to Best Buy, trying to locate the suspect and it was discovered that more than $3,500 had already been charged on the victim’s Discover account.

Cortes used the victim’s personal information to create a fake Florida driver license with Cortes’ photograph.

Best Buy’s Loss Prevention reported that Cortes verified the victim’s personal information over the phone with the bank during the transaction and left the store.

Officers began searching neighboring businesses and asked for help from Martin County Sheriff’s Office to check businesses within their jurisdiction.

Stuart Police responded to Target a few blocks away and found Cortes in the electronics department. A Martin County Sheriff’s deputy escorted Cortes into the store’s Loss Prevention Office and while doing so, Cortes began to send several text messages.

Police believe that she warned an accomplice.

The stolen goods and accomplice have yet to be located.