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Woman charged for opening, using credit card with false information

Robin Pecoria Downs entered a plea for opening a fraudulent credit card account and charging items at a Westminster department store. Full story: <a href="http://bit.ly/1MZEqnS" target="newwin">http://bit.ly/1MZEqnS</a>
Robin Pecoria Downs entered a plea for opening a fraudulent credit card account and charging items at a Westminster department store. Full story: http://bit.ly/1MZEqnS (HANDOUT)

A Baltimore woman entered a plea Tuesday for opening a fraudulent credit card account and charging items at a Westminster department store.

Robin Pecoria Downs, 42, of the 1100 block of New Hope Circle, pleaded not guilty but agreed not to challenge the state's version of the facts to theft scheme $1,000 to less than $10,000 and obtaining property by counterfeit.

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Downs received concurrent eight-year sentences with all but three years suspended for each charge.

In December 2013, Downs opened a store credit card account at Boscov's in the TownMall of Westminster using someone else's identifying information, according to the statement of facts read into the record by Senior Assistant State's Attorney Melissa Hockensmith.

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A Westminster police officer went to the store after a loss prevention officer discovered that the account was fraudulent and obtained surveillance footage, and a description of Downs and the woman with her, according to Hockensmith.

While following up on the case, the police officer was informed that the suspects were at the store again attempting to make another purchase on the card and they were apprehended, according to Hockensmith.

Downs told the officer she opened the account with the victim's information and the other woman was not aware of her plan, according to Hockensmith.

Downs also said she was part of a large credit card fraud ring and had been coerced into participating as a way to pay off a debt, Hockensmith said.

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Hockensmith said Downs had four previous convictions for theft, fraud and unauthorized use of a credit card and no matter her reasoning in this case, she perpetrated a theft scheme.

Judge J. Barry Hughes said he found it difficult to accept Downs' apology because of her record.

Hughes also ordered Downs to pay $1,379.20 in restitution to Boscov's.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.

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