Public Information Officer Mark Samson reported to Historic City News that the St. Augustine Police Department has obtained an arrest warrant for a Louisville, Kentucky man who they say used his mother’s American Express card to fraudulently pay for a storybook wedding last year.
In mid-May 2010, 41 year-old Scott Andrew Thompson contacted a local bakery to cater his upcoming wedding; scheduled for July 2010.
Sherry Stoppolbein, the owner of Hot Shot, sent Thompson a quote for $3800.00 and requested a deposit of $500.00. Thompson agreed to send the deposit the next day.
Stoppolbein told police that she had to remind Thompson, on several occasions, about the deposit. When she finally received and deposited the check, Stoppolbein says it was returned to her bank for insufficient funds.
At Thompson’s request, Stoppolbein made two attempts, with different credit cards, to obtain payment authorization. Thompson provided an American Express account number which was approved. Thompson told Stoppolbein to “keep the number” and to “charge all future transactions to that account”, according to Police Detective Cecilia Aiple.
At the conclusion of the wedding, the total charges due totaled $4,500.
In September 2010, the merchant was advised by American Express that the charge on the account number given to her by Thompson was in dispute. American Express had obtained a signed statement from their account holder that she had not made the purchase and that she had not given permission for anyone to use her account. The credit card actually belonged to Thompson’s mother.
Because of the improper payment to the merchant, American Express initiated a chargeback to Stoppolbein’s account in the amount of $1500. Stoppolbein told police that her total loss is just over $2800 because of bank charges incurred and costs associated with closing her bakery for the wedding event.
On investigation, police discovered that several other local businesses were also defrauded by Thompson when he attempted to pay for their services with worthless checks.
Samson said that one merchant chose not to prosecute and that the pastor finally recovered his check after it was re-deposited; however, the total loss to local merchants through Thompson’s scheme to defraud was over $17,000.
When Scott Andrew Thompson is arrested, the bond amount has been set for $35,000.
Anyone with any information concerning this crime or who may know the identity of those involved is asked to contact detectives with the St. Augustine Police Department at (904) 209-3482. You can remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward by calling CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-(888) 277-TIPS.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by SAPD