SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 29, 2013

Dog walker accused of credit card fraud

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — Like anyone who has lost weight, Janine Wilson needed new clothing, she allegedly told the owner of a Salem consignment shop last fall.

That store, Re-find, was one of several clothing stores where Wilson, 32, of 5 Alvin Road, Swampscott, bought her new wardrobe, according to police.

But police say Wilson’s new clothes came at someone else’s expense. Now the professional dog walker is facing a string of credit card fraud and forgery charges, after she allegedly used a credit card that belonged to one of the customers on her dog-walking route.

Wilson appeared yesterday in response to a summons at Salem District Court, where she’s charged with receiving a stolen credit card, identity fraud, larceny, forgery and credit card fraud. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on her own recognizance.

According to Salem Patrolwoman Kathleen Rocheville’s report, a Salem woman went to police in December to report more than $630 in suspicious transactions on her credit card.

The woman explained that she used the card only to make online payments, never leaving home with it.

The woman told police that her dog-walking service, Walk a Pup, had a key to her home. But she had never had a problem with them.

So Rocheville began visiting the various stores where the card was used, she wrote in her report, hoping to find surveillance video or some other evidence. Finally, at one store, Pamplemousse, she was shown a charge slip that was signed with what looked like the letter “J.”

She went to the owners of the dog-walking service, who were both surprised and cooperative, Rocheville wrote. They gave her a list of the employees with names starting with “J.”

At Re-find, the owner recalled Wilson being very chatty about her recent weight loss and need for new clothes. The purchase, for $173 worth of clothing, was the largest one in the store that day, the owner remembered.

The card had also been used at Two Girls, a Salem clothing store; Gap; Corkscrew Liquors in Peabody; Fantasy Island, a Chinese restaurant in Salem; and Wendy’s.

Those last two places surprised the owner at the dog-walking service, who said Wilson had “bragged” about her dieting and weight loss, according to the report.

When Rocheville contacted Wilson about the matter, she wrote in her report, Wilson declined to speak with her and said she had hired a lawyer.

Wilson is due back in court April 24.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.