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Florist stole from customers' bank accounts, police say

November 19, 2011 |  6:13 pm

A Glendale florist was arrested at his hillside home Thursday for allegedly using bank account information stolen from his customers to buy $1,900 in gift cards at Target stores in Glendale and Burbank.

Vahik Ghookasian, owner of Daisy’s Florist on the 1400 block of West Glenoaks Boulevard, allegedly bought the cards — which can be spent anywhere like pre-loaded debit cards — and then “purchased” items from his own store to pocket the money, police said.

Glendale police detectives and Secret Service agents — experts in financial crime investigations — served search warrants just after 7 a.m. Thursday at Ghookasian’s home on the 1600 block of Ridgeview Drive.

Detectives discovered hundreds of blank credit cards, re-encoded cards, computers, hard drives, embossing and printing equipment inside the home. Agents also found a credit card-skimming device at the flower shop, according to the Glendale News-Press.

Due to the equipment and access to consumer information, authorities said the extent of alleged fraud could be far greater, with hundreds of more victims dating as far back as 2009.

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--Veronica Rocha, Times Community News.

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