Cornell Jackson, 29, and Marquet Dorsey, 24, are accused of ripping off retail businesses by using a prepaid Visa card Jackson set up online. The account never had any money in it, police said.
On June 1, police said Jackson tried to buy more than $1,100 in sunglasses from Trendy Sunglasses in Manhattan Beach, but his prepaid card was declined. Then Marquet Dorsey allegedly called the store pretending to be a Visa agent and gave a fake authorization code. That allowed the transaction to be completed.
"They just, I guess, knew the machine very well, and they gave us a code to put in, and they knew step by step what to do to make sure it would go through," said Cynthia Navarro, an employee at Trendy Sunglasses.
Because Jackson used his real driver's license at the sunglass store, Manhattan Beach police were able to find him and the man police say was his partner in crime. The two were arrested June 5 at Jackson's Lakewood home.
Police said Jackson and Dorsey wore make-up and dressed as women while they committed the crimes.
Officials said the two suspects, who were recently paroled from prison, pulled the scam at least 40 times, including the payment of a $2,900 bill at Days Inn in Hawthorne and a $15,000 SUV in Fontana in May. Detectives retrieved the SUV and returned it to the dealership.
It was earlier reported that the suspects were transgendered - they are not. They just dressed as women while committing the crimes.