Man accused of forgery, swindling local businesses

A man has been accused in Anoka County District Court of swindling several Anoka County businesses by using an illegitimate authorization code on credit or debit cards as well as passing forged checks and issuing dishonored checks.

Ryan Thomas Barber, 36, no permanent address, will make his first court appearance Aug. 21 on felony theft by swindle and offering a forged check charges as well as a gross misdemeanor issuing dishonored checks counts.

Police were sent to O’Reilly Auto Parts in Andover Dec. 24, 2012, on a theft-related incident involving Barber, a regular customer, who purchased items between Nov. 17 and Dec. 24, 2012, totaling $650.03, using a pre-paid Visa debit card, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that the debit card would initially be declined, but Barber would provide an authorization code and the transaction would be approved.

Then he returned most of the items and asked for cash back, allegedly stating that the money could not be returned to the debit card because it was prepaid.

The store received information that the debit card did not have sufficient funds to make any of the purchases and the authorization number was illegitimate, according to the complaint.

Police also learned that Barber had allegedly passed multiple checks with insufficient funds in his account at the O’Reilly Auto Parts store in Coon Rapids totaling $451.29 from Oct. 9 to Nov. 16, 2012.

Contacted by the store, Barber has allegedly yet to pay anything toward the outstanding debt.

Ramsey Police were investigating Barber for similar activity at the Comfort Suites Hotel, where he allegedly went Dec. 25, 2012, and provided a Visa credit card and the same authorization code, both later found to be fraudulent, to pay for a room, where he stayed until Jan. 7, accumulating $1,300.46 in charges.

When contacted, Barber allegedly said he would pay for the charges, but he has not to date.

Barber had also visited Hooze 4×4 in Ham Lake to purchase parts for his car, allegedly using a credit card with the illegitimate authorization number to buy $3,314.48 worth of parts to be installed on his car.

But before the parts could be installed, the car was damaged in an accident and towed to Hooze for repair work, according to the complaint.

Barber told Hooze not to place the new parts in the car because he would be receiving an insurance check for the repairs needed to get the car running again, the complaint alleges.

The total amount for the repairs, not including the parts previously paid for, was $5,766.59, on which Barber paid $700 in cash, then allegedly gave two checks, one for $500 Dec. 10, 2012, and another for $1,500 Jan. 15, on a Wells Fargo account that does not exist.

Barber has not paid for the repairs done on his car, allegedly telling Hooze that the insurance check was taken by Hennepin County for owed child support.

Officers executed a search warrant on Barber’s car Feb. 21 and found a bill for products and services purchased totaling $2,978.03, at the T-Mobile store Feb. 11, paid for with a Visa credit card and the same authorization code used in the other incidents, the complaint alleges.

T-Mobile was later told that the credit card and authorization code were illegitimate.

Barber’s alleged offenses were not just in Anoka County.

According to the complaint, on Jan. 29 officers received a report from the Bauer Law Office in Plymouth reporting that Barber hired them for legal services Dec. 12, 2012, and paid a retainer amounting to $6,000, providing a MasterCard debit card and the illegitimate authorization code.

Barber subsequently hired the law firm to represent him on numerous matters, allegedly providing the same financial card information.

He allegedly obtained services from Bauer totaling $26,500.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]

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