Yuma woman arrested in credit card fraud case pleads guilty
The 42-year-old Yuma woman suspected of stealing multiple credit card numbers and security codes from a Foothills bar and then passing them to an accomplice pleaded guilty Wednesday to one felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices in exchange for two other charges being dropped against her.
When asked by Superior Court Judge David Haws what her plea was, Laurie Adey answered simply by saying, "Guilty." Haws then scheduled her to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. July 17.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Adey will be sentenced to a slightly aggravated term of seven years in prison, possibly with credit for time she has served since her March arrest.
"The reason why the state is asking for an aggravated sentence was due to her criminal background," said prosecutor Jim Eustace of the Yuma County Attorney’s Office.
Also, as part of the plea agreement, Adey must pay full restitution to all of the victims. Eustace informed the court that there are about 20 victims in this case, all of whom were winter visitors. Adey remains in custody at the Yuma County jail under a $100,000 bond.
Haws explained to Adey, who is being represented by attorney Paul Abbate, that the plea agreement is not binding on the court and the judge could reject it if he determines it is unreasonable. If that happens, he said she would be given the option of withdrawing from the plea agreement or talking before another judge in the hope that they accept it.
When asked for a factual basis of the case, Eustace said deputies from the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office arrested Adey in March after an investigation into a separate case revealed she was allegedly involved in multiple counts of credit card fraud with an accomplice, who then used that information to make fraudulent purchases.
Adey’s accomplice, Pasquale Mykal Menyhert, is being held in the Yuma County jail on a combined $120,000 bond. He has also been offered a plea agreement.
Sheriff’s office investigators had discovered that between January and approximately March 25, Adey, while employed as a waitress at Parrish’s Bar & Grill, stole multiple credit card numbers and security codes from customers. She is then believed to have given the stolen information to Menyhert, who used that information to make fraudulent purchases.
Menyhert, 31, was arrested by the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force on March 19 on drug charges after a search warrant was served on a hotel room in which he was staying. During that search, several items of evidence were recovered that indicated Menyhert may have been involved in fraudulent schemes involving credit cards.
Sheriff’s office investigators were notified and initiated an investigation into the potential fraud, which eventually led to Adey’s arrest.