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Car Dealer Finance Manager Accused Of Fraud

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A Florida finance manager is accused of using personal financial information to make some hefty purchases.

Authorities say Osvaldo Batista, 39, who worked at the car dealership Kendall Lakes Automotive, allegedly used credit card information to make fraudulent purchases.

On Friday, with his arms crossed and a foul look on his face, Batista listened as the judge listed off the allegations against him.

He allegedly made more than two dozen phone purchases using credit card numbers from customers at Kendall Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep.

A call from a department store prompted the investigation of Batista. Through that, detectives said they found out that because of his position, he had access to patrons' personal information.

Once he got the information, he would allegedly use the stolen information to place orders over the phone from June 5th to September 6th.

"Once you leave that finance manager has all your information," explained Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.  "With that information he'd place a phone order and then purchase whatever he wanted to purchase."

Officers were able to search Batista's home. They said they found documentation linking him to fraudulent purchases and were able to recover about $5,000 in new merchandise.

Police said he racked up thousands of dollars in high dollar purchases at Saks 5th Avenue at Dadeland Mall and they found a pair of $1,100 dollar sneakers and expensive fragrances at his home.

Authorities later arrested Batista on September 6th and charged him with organized scheme to defraud, aggravated white collar crime, criminal use of identification and fraudulent use of credit cards.

Customers were stunned hearing the allegations.

"Makes me feel unsafe as a customer," said Michael Gonzalez.

"It's incredible," said Carlos Alvarez, who purchased a car two months ago.

The dealership's general manager, Hector Collado said he's glad police are "putting it out there."  He went on to say that they got "not one complaint from a customer," that the dealership just found out about this.

Police said this is not the first time Batista is accused of doing something like this. He's charged with doing something similar at another car dealership.

"He was on probation for this specific case and now a year later he was arrested for the same thing," says Det. Zabaleta.

For now, he's being held without bond, but if he gets out his movement at the mall is limited.

Meantime, Miami-Dade Police said they are searching for anymore possible victims. They are asking anyone who bought a car and later became a victim of fraud to contact the Economic Crimes Bureau at 305-994-1000.

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