PORTLAND — A New York man who used bogus driver’s licenses to open charge accounts at three Home Depot stores in Maine — and tried to open another in Auburn — will spend six months in prison.

Peter Garces Androscoggin County Jail

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Peter Garces, 23, of the Bronx on Tuesday for credit fraud in connection with access devices, a charge to which he had pleaded guilty in April.

He had faced possible punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

After his release from prison, Garces will be on supervised release for three years during which he must refrain from having any alcohol and illegal drugs, participate in substance abuse therapy and undergo testing. He must also undergo any mental health treatment ordered by his supervising officer.

He was ordered to pay $15,654.52 in restitution.

Garces had opened accounts with more than half a dozen fake driver’s licenses to buy more than $15,500 worth of items from Home Depot stores in Biddeford, South Portland and Windham, according to court documents.

He later sold his purchases in New York, court records show.

After his arrest on Sept. 27, 2018, at Home Depot in Auburn, Garces was taken to a local hospital for a mental evaluation, where police discovered his shoes contained several gift cards and fake driver’s licenses from Kentucky, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and four from Illinois under four different names.

Auburn police had responded to a call from Home Depot on Mount Auburn Avenue, where a loss prevention officer said a man had used a Pennsylvania driver’s license to open charge accounts, then charged thousands of dollars of merchandise at several Home Depot stores, including Biddeford and Windham.

The man was later identified by police through fingerprints as Garces. He was in the process of opening a charge account at the Auburn store when he was discovered by that store’s officer. He tried to flee when confronted by local police officers, but was eventually handcuffed.

While Garces was in custody, an apparent accomplice named “Gigi” texted him to ask if he was “OK.” She said she was near Kohl’s, court papers said.

Police instructed Garces to call the woman and tell her to bring back the items to the store, but she hung up and turned off her phone, court papers said. Garces refused to identify her and said she likely was headed back to New York.

He later told police he used fake IDs to open charge accounts at the Home Depot stores, where he bought expensive items and took them back to New York to sell at half price. He admitted the Pennsylvania driver’s license was fake.

Police said Garces’ spending on the accounts under a false name on Sept. 27, 2018, totaled $7,714 at the Biddeford store, $5,979 in Windham and $1,962 in South Portland.

 


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