A woman was arrested after police said she tried to rent a $7,000 South Beach hotel room using a fake credit card and ID.
Debra Betancourt, 50, was arrested Tuesday and faces several charges including grand theft and fraudulent use of a credit card, according to online jail records. She was held on $73,500 bond.
Joe Castillo, of Platinum Luxury Rent a Car, saw Betancourt’s mug shot and immediately recognized her. He said the woman rented a Porsche and a BMW from their facility on July 25.
“Everything was fake,” he said. “Everything these people are using was fake. Fake names, fake credit cards.”
But Castillo said they called what they believed was the credit card company to approve the transaction.
“A person just like a bank just answered saying they'll give you approval code and everything,” he said.
Castillo hired Jorge del Rio, a private investigator for Evergreen Investigations, who tracked down a stolen Mercedes and the BMW.
“They put new [VIN numbers] on the car and they registered the vehicle in the name of a senior, and she had no knowledge whatsoever that the vehicle was registered under her name,” del Rio said.
Betancourt’s charges are included in four separate cases filed with the Miami-Dade state attorney. Del Rio told NBC 6 South Florida that other counties have been affected too.
“I’ve spoken to police agencies in Miami Beach, Palm Beach, and other cities and they’ve advised that it's an organized ring and that they’ve victimized them as well,” del Rio said.