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Arrest warrant against two men accused of credit/debit card misuse reissued

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AN arrest warrant against two men accused of debit/credit card misuse was reissued on the same day it was dismissed for procedural errors.

On Jan. 21, 2020, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho issued another arrest warrant for Korey Marok Leon, 19, and Steven Roman Tudela, 25, charging them with three counts of misuse of financial instruments.

A $20,000 cash bail was also imposed on each defendant.

On Thursday morning, Leon appeared before Judge Wesley Bogdan while Tudela appeared before Judge Kenneth L. Govendo in the afternoon.

Both defendants were remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections after their separate hearings.

According to police, the victim on January 17, 2020 identified Leon as one of the suspects who swiped the victim’s credit card at Computer Electronics Outlet and purchased two cellular phones as indicated in footage from the store’s surveillance camera.

After exiting the establishment, Leon got into a white Toyota Corolla. Police then notified all responding units to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

On the same day, police conducted a traffic stop in San Jose for the described vehicle. Tudela was the driver while Leon was the passenger.

According to Detective Jeffrey I. Norita in his declaration of probable cause for an arrest warrant, Leon was positively identified by the cashier as the person who bought two Samsung cell phones using a credit card.

After a search of the vehicle, police found credit and debit cards belonging to the victim. Police also found one of the cell phones bought at the computer store. The defendants were then arrested for theft.

Police were also dispatched to LJ Market in Gualo Rai regarding a separate theft incident.

Officers met with the victim who reported that someone was swiping his Bank of Hawaii credit card and that transactions had been made to purchase items from three business establishments.

The victim, who was interviewed by the police on Jan. 18, said he received notification from his cell phone through his BOH app, alerting him of transactions totaling $1,567.

The victim said he noticed that his cards, which were in a Ziploc bag, were not in his drawer on Jan. 15, but he thought that he has misplaced them in his car.

In a freely given statement to police in the morning of Jan. 18, Tudela stated that he rented a white Toyota Corolla on Jan. 17 and found several credit cards in the car. He said he used one of the cards to purchase cigarettes at Jin Li Market.

Tudela said he then picked up Leon and handed him the same card to purchase cartons of cigarettes at Tres Marias in San Vicente. He said they used two more cards to purchase cellular phones at Computer Electronics Outlet.

Leon was also interviewed by the police and corroborated what Tudela had told the officers.

Leon said he knew that what they were doing was wrong.

At the hearing on Thursday, Leon was represented by Assistant Public Defender Jean Nogues, while attorney Robert T. Torres was appointed by the court to represent Tudela.

Assistant Attorney General Samantha Vickery appeared for the government.

Judge Bogdan earlier dismissed without prejudice the charges against the two after learning that they were questioned while being detained at Corrections before an arrest warrant was issued against them.

“Without prejudice” means that the charges can be refiled.

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