Two Chicago residents charged in connection with a credit card scheme pleaded not guilty Thursday in Territorial Court and requested jury trials.
Norris French, who is also known as "Reggie Dean," and Diane Gordon remain incarcerated at the Bureau of Corrections in lieu of bail. In fact, Judge Ishmael Meyers denied attorney Stephen Brusch's request that French be allowed to post 10 percent of his $75,000 bail.
"I am hard pressed to allow the 10 percent bail condition for a person who has absolutely no ties to the community," Meyers said. "I'm afraid he's a flight risk."
French has been charged with the fraudulent use of a credit card, forgery of credit card and signing the credit card of another person.
Gordon also remains in custody at the Bureau of Corrections in lieu of $75,000 bail. She was represented at the arraignment by attorney Leonard B. Francis.
Prosecutors have filed a 24-count information against Diane Gordon consisting of charges that include attempted fraudulent use of a credit card, fraudulent use of a credit card, forgery of a credit card and signing the credit card of another person.
According to the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Douglas Sprotte, Gordon and French will be tried together as co-defendants. Because of their extensive criminal records, both French and Gordon are expected to be tried as habitual offenders. Judge Ive Arlington Swan will preside over the trial. Judge Meyers set a Feb. 28 date for discovery and March 10 deadline for motions that may arise from the discovery process.
The two were arrested Jan. 3 at the Cyril E. King Airport after a five-day shopping spree on St. Thomas where they used bogus credit cards to rack up purchases of big ticket items including designer glasses, electronics, shoes, T-shirts and towels. They were busted when their attempts to purchase a $14,000 Rolex watch failed; a store clerk alerted authorities to the possible card scam. The two are also accused of running up a $2,000 bill at Frenchman's Reef Resort.
The scheme involved the two using blank plastic cards, embossing logos and their names on the cards and then adding real credit card numbers from unknowing victims.
Authorities said earlier this week that this is not the first run-in with the law for the two. They were charged with a string of felony crimes in other jurisdictions.
According to court documents, Gordon was first arrested in 1992 in Chicago on drug-possession charges. Other arrests came later that year and in 1996, 1997 and 1998 on charges that included credit card fraud, theft, unlawful use of a credit card, altering a credit card and defrauding a credit card issuer.
French's rap sheet includes arrests in Chicago in 1992 for possession of a stolen vehicle and murder. In 1996, he was arrested in Chicago for possession of a controlled substance. One year later, he was arrested for assault and drug possession. Last year he was arrested twice for forgery and one time for unlawful use of a weapon.