Caffe Aficionado in Rosslyn (1919 N. Lynn Street) is closed following a police raid this morning (Friday).
Police say the cafe’s owner, Adiam Berhane, was involved in a scheme to profit from cloned credit cards. She and her business partner, Clark Donat, were both arrested and charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.
From an Arlington County Police Department press release:
Following a joint investigation by local, state and federal partners, two suspects involved in a large-scale credit card cloning fraud have been identified and taken into custody. Adiam Berhane, 44, of Arlington VA and Clark Donat, 44, of Arlington VA have been arrested and charged with money laundering and two counts of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. Both suspects are being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility. Additional charges are pending.
In November 2015, a victim with no known ties to Arlington County reported numerous attempted credit card transactions in the County. Law enforcement began an investigation into possible credit card cloning and through investigative leads, Adiam Berhane was identified as a possible suspect. Further investigation revealed that Berhane’s coffee shop, Caffé Aficionado located at 1919 N. Lynn Street, redeemed hundreds of thousands of dollars in pre-payable gift cards. It is believed that these gift cards were purchased using cloned credit cards.
The investigation into the activities of Berhane and Donat are ongoing. Anyone with information about these incidents or who believes they may be a victim of this fraud is asked to contact the Arlington County Financial Crimes Unit by email at [email protected]
. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
The arrests of Berhane and Donat are the direct result of outstanding police work and the leveraging of resources during the joint investigation by the Arlington County Police Department, the United States Secret Service National Capitol Region Fraud Task Force, Metropolitan Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Maryland National Capital Park Police Montgomery County Division, City of Bowie Police Department, the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and with assistance from various financial institutions and retailers.
Police also executed a search warrant Friday morning at a residence at the high-end Gaslight Square apartments in Rosslyn (1700 Clarendon Blvd), hauling out boxes of evidence and at least one computer.
Update at 1:50 p.m. — A reader points out that it appears Berhane was previously convicted of credit card fraud in New York City. Police tell ARLnow.com that Berhane has used numerous aliases in the past, including Carole Jones, Deborah Hyman and Adiam Testamichael.
Update at 3:15 p.m. — An individual who met an ARLnow.com employee at Caffe Aficionado, while our office was in Rosslyn, was apparently a victim of the fraud. The individual, who did not want her name used, sent an email to our employee a few days after the meeting in 2014, warning that her credit card information might have been stolen from the cafe. Her credit card had been used to buy three $500 Macy’s gift cards. The incident was reported to police.
Photos (top) by Samantha Moore
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Arlington County Police are executing a search warrant on the house of David Black, the ex-husband of murder victim Bonnie Delgado Black.
Police arrived at the house near Pentagon City early this morning, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Black was at the house at the time but has since left, and is so far not in custody and not charged with a crime, Sternbeck said.
“We have an active police presence at this time at David Black’s residence,” said Sternbeck. Police are searching for “potential items at the residence that could contain forensic evidence that can assist us in the investigation.”
Bonnie Black was found stabbed to death in her Aurora Highlands home the morning of April 17, after a neighbor saw her children wandering around outside the house. Black, who was 42, worked as a psychologist and did contract work for the FBI.
Bonnie Black’s ex-husband’s house is also in Aurora Highlands, several blocks away from the murder scene. Police this morning could be seen searching the ex-husband’s garage and removing two bikes, including one with a child carrier attached. The bikes were later taken away as evidence by police.
So far no one has been charged in the murder, a fact that has caused concern in the community. David Black remains a “person of interest” in the case, Sternbeck said.
“I’m very happy to see some action taking place,” neighbor Lynn Primo told reporters. “We’re all very concerned… this man continues to live here and the whole neighborhood believes he has something to do with [the murder].”
Primo said she has seen Black coming and going from the house, but has not observed any unusual activity.
The couple’s children are in the custody of Bonnie Black’s family, but David Black still has visitation rights, according to Sternbeck.
Update at 3:55 p.m. — Police have announced that an arrest has been made in connection with the FBI raid. As a result, we’ve removed a now-irrelevant reference to the owner of the group house that was raided.
About a dozen FBI agents executed a search warrant on a house in Cherrydale last night.
FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin confirmed the operation but was unable to provide any additional details, citing an on-going investigation. Agents, many wearing FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force jackets, could be seen carrying boxes of evidence out of the house late last night. One agent was wearing an “FBI Bomb Tech” jacket.
A neighbor said the house, located on the 4000 block of 17th Street N., was a group home, divided into several apartments. He said he hasn’t noticed anything suspicious about any of its residents.
FBI agents were assisted by Arlington County Police and the Arlington County Bomb Squad. The county’s bomb squad truck helped to provide light at the scene. It’s unclear if bomb squad members were utilized for any other part of the operation. Godwin said the scene posed no danger to the public.
In a somewhat unusual move, police officers stopped at least two individuals who were taking photos of the scene and demanded their name, address and date of birth.
The search warrant comes one week after an FBI Evidence Response Team conducted a search of a site near I-66 and Patrick Henry Drive, following the discovery of gun parts buried in the ground in a wooded area.