Ex-phone store employee pleads guilty to fraud, theft

Richard Lamont Ainey - Submitted photo

HOT SPRINGS -- A former employee of a phone store who used a customer's credit card information to have food delivered to his house last year was sentenced to three years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to felony charges.

Richard Lamont Ainey, 29, of Hot Springs, pleaded guilty in Garland County Circuit Court to computer fraud and theft of property involving a credit or debit card and was sentenced to three years in prison on each count, to run concurrently with each other and with a three-year sentence for the revocation Monday of his Nov. 20, 2017, conviction for embezzling $2,235 from his former employer, Half of Half Clothing, in Hot Springs.

According to the probable cause affidavit on the 2019 charges, a woman reported Sept. 5, 2019, she had gone to Boost Mobile, 1500 Central Ave., to open a new account and met with an employee, later identified as Ainey, for the sale.

She said Ainey took her information, opened the account and she left. She said the next day she discovered there had been a fraudulent charge on her account to Door Dash for $78.78 for a food delivery from an area restaurant.

Detective Nathan Rines contacted the owner of the Boost Mobile store who checked his computer records and discovered several pertinent documents and provided Rines with a copy of the digital Door Dash order made from the store's computer by Ainey showing the food was delivered to Ainey's residence on Hickory Street.

The owner also discovered Ainey had overcharged the woman $28, which he sent directly to his own bank account. The woman later discovered a Boost Mobile charge of $49.99 on Sept. 7 that wasn't authorized by her and was determined to have been made by Ainey. The total loss to the woman was $156.77.

The affidavit notes it was apparent Ainey retained the woman's credit card number after the transaction was complete and used it to his own financial benefit. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Feb. 6 and he was arrested Feb. 27.

At the time of Ainey's arrest, he was in Garland County District Court for his trial on charges of computer fraud and theft of property stemming from his arrest Oct. 4, 2019, for allegedly embezzling over $2,000 from Metro by T-Mobile, 2916 Central Ave., where he had been working in May 2019.

The trial was continued and the computer fraud charge was later withdrawn, but the theft charge is still pending in district court as of Tuesday.