A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court jury on Wednesday found James E. Patton guilty of attempting to put down a $92,000 payment on a $500,000 engagement ring by using a revoked debit card and providing a code to punch in so that the transaction would be accepted.
Patton, 38, will be sentenced April 11 by Judge Dennis J. Langer for the fifth-degree felony of attempt to commit misuse of credit cards. Patton still has three civil cases pending against Montgomery County law enforcement officials relating to his treatment and more similar criminal charges in Greene County.
“Obviously, the state is pleased with the guilty verdict and that they found him responsible for trying to take advantage of a local business,” prosecutor Erin Claypoole said. “We would urge all businesses to be safe in their (credit card) practices.”
During closing arguments, defense attorney Marshall Lachman told jurors, “There’s a lot of holes (in the prosecution’s case),” he said. “There’s a lot of things that aren’t explained.”
During her rebuttal closing, Claypoole told jurors that Patton “didn’t back out of this transaction; He just didn’t get away with it.” She instructed the jury to “find him guilty and tell him the gig is up.”
The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about an hour before returning the guilty verdict.
Prosecutors allege Patton contacted Weber’s Jewelers in December 2011 to have them create a 6- to 8-carat diamond engagement ring. Then, on Feb. 17, 2012, Patton gave a credit/debit card to an employee and had the transaction denied. Then, according to authorities, Patton called his bank to get his credit limit increased and obtain a verification code.
Prosecutors said Patton then instructed the employee to take the machine offline and gave the employee a fraudulent authorization code to make the transaction go through, despite the card being from an account they say Patton knew was closed. Court documents indicate Patton then allegedly gave instructions about how to run the sale through offline or force the transaction.
Prosecutors said these instructions made the deposit appear to go through the in-store credit card terminal. Four days later, Weber’s Jewelers received notification that the down payment made by Patton was not credited to his account, according to court documents.
In Greene County Common Pleas Court, Patton faces felony charges of misuse of a credit card, theft, receiving stolen property and passing bad checks. He also faces misdemeanor charges of passing bad checks and misuse of a credit card. Patton also has sued the Greene County Sheriff’s Office relating to jail conditions in both common pleas and federal courts.
By Mark Gokavi - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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