ORLANDO, Fla. (WFTV) -- State investigators have arrested an Orlando man in what they said was a $500,000 identity theft credit card scam.
Investigators said it’s the first time they’ve seen this type of scheme and that it was very sophisticated plan that lasted seven months.
Officials said Daryl Ali stole the identities of nearly a dozen businesses and set up merchant accounts online.
He then allegedly stole the identities of more than two dozen individuals and created prepaid credit cards for them using Serve or Blue Bird and claimed the phony customers wanted to return merchandise that didn't even exist.
They said he then would process the returns and the credit card companies thought the refunds were legitimate, so they put money on the cards.
Investigators said once he had the money he would either transfer it to another card or use an ATM.
"When the credit card processing company ultimately figures out there's a problem with this merchandise return, the money is already gone," said Daniel Warren, with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Investigators said he pocketed the money to support an extravagant life style.
"We recovered $12,000, and many luxurious watches and so on, so he was living a high life," Warren said.
Channel 9’s Myrt Price went to Ali’s home but there was no one there.
When neighbors learned about the scam they were blown away.
"In the end I think consumers and businesses are going to be hurt by what he's done," a neighbor said.
Ali's facing money laundering and scheme to defraud charges.
Investigators said there could be more arrests once they complete their investigation.