A Victorville man was sentenced to three years’ probation after his scheme to use consumer-protection laws to steal a $13,000 Rolex watch was exposed, the Riverside Police Department said.

The sentence was handed down to 23-year-old Anthony Delgado Alvarez on Sept. 14 after he pleaded guilty to attempted grand theft, Riverside police economic crimes Detective Brian Money said Friday.

“This case is unique because Mr. Alvarez used identity theft and fraud protection laws to help commit his crime. This sort of reverse fraud is becoming more common and will most often raise red flags with banks and credit card companies who then report the crime to police,” Money said.

As Money detailed it, Alvarez contacted his bank in June 2019 to dispute a $13,423 charge on his debit card for the purchase of a Rolex in Las Vegas. For weeks, Alvarez challenged the charge and sought a refund.

He cited the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, a federal consumer protection law that helps reimburse victims whose debit cards have been fraudulently used. He told the bank that he previously worked in payment processing and knows that security chips and PIN numbers on cards can be fraudulently duplicated. Alvarez also told the bank that his rights were being violated because his money had not been returned, Money said.

But when Riverside police, after being contacted by the bank, reviewed video of the purchase, it was clear that it was Alvarez who bought the watch, Money said.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office then filed the charge against Alvarez.

Alvarez still owes the credit card company $13,423, Money said, and still has the watch. The crime, Money said, was not the purchase but attempting to get the refund by falsely claiming that he did not buy the watch.

Money said people can stay up to date on various types of fraud and scams by visiting the FBI’s website at FBI.gov.

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