A Georgia couple suspected of running a multi-state credit card scam are currently being held in the Walton County jail on arrest warrants from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. News 5 is told more charges are in the works.
37-year-old Dino John Marks and 37-year-old Marlena McMillen were arrested Friday night at the Surfside Condominium after hotel staff members recognized them from social media posts that had been shared alerting businesses of their scam.
News 5 has been following the story of the pair as they travel from city to city scamming local businesses out of thousands of dollars. Over the course of a few weeks, the pair hit local businesses spanning from Daphne, Alabama all the way to Navarre Beach, Florida and various places in between. We were on scene Friday night when the two were arrested.
Marks and McMillen are suspected of running a common credit card scam called a “forced sale.” The couple would go into stores and use their credit card to pay for their items. When the credit card was declined they would offer a “special code” for the retailer to put into their credit card terminal that would force the sale to go through. Often, they would say they were “Life Lock” members and this code was used to protect them from fraud. Other times, they two would say the code was one given by the credit card company to protect them from fraud.
The couple checked into the Surfside Condominium with their four children and paid to stay there through February of 2017, in cash. The children are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has warrants on the couple for grand theft in excess of $10,000. These charges come from the couple’s theft of more than $11,000 worth of luxury handbags from the LuxExchange in Destin, Florida. We’re told the Walton County Sheriff’s Office has additional charges for the couple. Detectives from every jurisdiction the couple hit are working together to piece together evidence and charges against the couple.
Investigators are still on scene at Surfside Condominium collecting merchandise from the condo the two were staying in.
News 5 is told authorities are working to get the merchandise back to the retailers it was stolen from.
Alison Spann will have more on this story as it develops.