Hurricane man booked into jail after alleged fraud using family member’s phone

Eric L. McGarvie. Photo: Washington County

HURRICANE, Utah, Feb. 19. 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Hurricane man has been booked into jail after allegedly using an older family member’s phone and PayPal account to defraud her relative out of more than $900.

Eric L. McGarvie, 31, faces charges of:

  • Unlawful acquisition/possession/transfer of credit card, a third-degree felony
  • Unlawful use of a financial transaction card, a class A misdemeanor

According to a probable cause statement filed in the Feb. 13 case by an officer of the Hurricane Police Department, McGarvie was living temporarily with the older family member when he asked to use her phone to call a friend, stating his phone was not working correctly.

“After he had the phone for some time, she came out requesting it back and he asked for more time,” the statement says. “She gave him more time and came out again requesting to have the phone given back to her. Eric again requested more time and she allowed him. (The victim) eventually fell asleep and woke several hours later. She went back out to Eric in a panic asking for her phone and she said he lost it.”

With help from another relative and a manager at a cell phone store, the victim was able to track her phone to a Walmart in Hurricane, the statement says.

“The phone had also been completely erased and all her apps were gone,” the probable cause statement says. “The family member spent a couple hours on the phone with her restoring everything back to the phone. After it was restored, she opened the web browser on the phone and saw there were seven different tabs open for the website PayPal.”

The victim opened her PayPal app, and discovered the McGarvie had been sending money from her app, the probable cause statement says.

“The female receives $1,000 a month from Social Security to live on, and discovered Eric had sent three $300 amounts using PayPal. One amount was sent to Eric’s phone number, another to Eric’s business he owns and a third to a female friend of Eric’s.”

The woman told officers she had never given McGarvie permission to send money to anyone. She provided screen shots of the transactions to investigating officers.

Post Miranda, “Eric admitted to borrowing (his relative’s) phone. He also admitted he tried accessing several of her financial apps to gain access to her money to purchase drugs,” the probable cause statement says.

“Eric admitted he gained access to her PayPal finally and was able to transfer money out. He confirmed the female name seen in the transactions was a friend of his and he did transfer her the money. The total amount of money sent from (his relative’s) account was $918. Eric explained he struggles with drugs and was doing whatever he could to get money for drugs.”

McGarvie also told officers he had a drug dealer “come pick him up and they drove around for a bit and he was later dropped off. Eric said he was so focused on the drugs, he forgot the phone in his drug dealers car, who must have ditched it at Walmart.”


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