PORTLAND — A New York man who used bogus driver’s licenses to open charge accounts at three Home Depot stores in Maine, and tried to open one in Auburn, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to one count of credit card fraud, according to court documents.

Peter Garces, 22, of the Bronx fraudulently opened accounts with more than half a dozen fake driver’s licenses to purchase more than $15,500 worth of items from Home Depot stores in Biddeford, South Portland and Windham, according to court documents. He later sold his purchases in New York, court records reveal.

After his arrest Sept. 27, 2018, at Home Depot in Auburn, Garces was taken to a local hospital for a mental evaluation, where police discovered his shoes contained several gift cards and fake driver’s licenses from Kentucky, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and four from Illinois under four different names.

According to court documents, Auburn police responded to a call from Home Depot on Mount Auburn Avenue, where a loss prevention officer said a man had used a Pennsylvania driver’s license to open charge accounts and charged thousands of dollars of merchandise at several Home Depot stores, including Biddeford and Windham.

The man, later identified by police through fingerprints as Garces, was in the process of opening a charge account at the Auburn store. He tried to flee when confronted by officers, but was eventually handcuffed, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

While Garces was in custody, an apparent accomplice named “Gigi” texted him to ask if he was “OK.” She said she was near Kohl’s, according to court documents.

Garces was instructed by police to call and tell her to bring the items back to the store, but she hung up and turned off her phone, according to court documents. Garces refused to identify her and said she likely was headed back to New York.

He later told police he used fake IDs to open charge accounts at the Home Depot stores where he bought expensive items and took them back to New York to sell at half price. He admitted the Pennsylvania driver’s license was fake.

Police said Garces’ spending on the accounts under a false name on Sept. 27, 2018, totaled $7,714 at the Biddeford store, $5,979 in Windham and $1,962 in South Portland.

Credit card fraud is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Christopher Williams — 207-689-2803

[email protected]

Twitter: @cwilliamsSJ

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