Rose Creek woman charged with credit card fraud

Published 8:01 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

Serena Kay Gardner, 33, of Rose Creek was charged on Wednesday in Mower County District Court with felony financial transaction card fraud-use without consent.

According to the court complaint, a couple met with an Austin police officer on Dec. 13 regarding numerous fraudulent purchases listed on their credit card statement. A sum of $1,043.14 in purchases had been made at Walmart locations in southeast Minnesota from Sept. 4 through Nov. 19, including:

  • 20 transactions at the Austin Walmart totaling $629.98;
  • Three transactions at the Albert Lea Walmart totaling $355.39;
  • One transaction at the Red Wing Walmart totaling $13.74; and
  • Two transactions at a Walmart in Rochester totaling $44.03.

Serena Kay Gardner, 33

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The couple told the officer they suspected Gardner, who had access to the credit card when she was married to a relative. They indicated they had made a Walmart purchase on Gardner’s cell phone on at least one occasion. They provided the officer with a picture of Gardner and said she was going by her maiden name, Serena Gleason.

The couple said they cancelled the credit card after seeing the transactions on their statement and were advised to contact police if they saw any other fraudulent transactions.

An officer made contact with a Walmart loss prevention employee, who said that all of the purchases were made in store, but paid for via the WalmartPay app on a cell phone. He said that no credit card was needed to be present for the purchase because the credit card number is saved in the app.

The employee found surveillance footage from one of the purchases dated Oct. 12 and the officer recognized Gardner. On Dec. 28, the officer showed the photographs taken from the footage to the couple, who identified Gardner. They reiterated that they had not given Gardner permission to use the card.

Gardner will appear in court again on Jan. 24.