Florida Keys

Keys big tipper charged with credit-card fraud


An Upper Keys bar patron was known for adding big tips when paying his bill with a credit card.

The problem with his generosity, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies say, was that the cards were billing unsuspecting people.

New charges were added Thursday to a fraud case against Joseph R. Arnone, 35, of Key Largo. He was jailed at press time facing 11 criminal counts with bonds totaling $43,500.

Credit-card numbers for three people, two of whom have never been to the Keys, were used to buy dinners and fast food in addition to paying hefty bar tabs, Detective Jacques Rozek reported. Total loss to the credit-card companies was placed at $1,250.

Staff at the Hog Heaven Sports Bar in Islamorada called the Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 6 to report that man identified as “Joey” Arnone used a credit card to pay his bill. A check confirmed the card number was registered to another person. A bar worker told the detective that Arnone was known for leaving big tips.

“When confronted with the information about the fraudulent card, Arnone admitted he’d purchased it online and knew it was not legitimate,” an agency spokesman said.

Rozek wrote that Arnone apparently obtained stolen credit-card information online and somehow transferred that information to a blank credit card printed with Arnone’s name. When swiped, the card would bill the legitimate card holder.

Counts against Arnone, described as an unemployed bartender, include grand theft, illegal use of credit cards and fraud by impersonation.