Three Women Arrested in Gift Card Scam

Three women are behind bars in Northwest Florida for allegedly running a scam operation across Walton and Okaloosa counties.

Gwendolyn Gearhart of Crestview is being described as the mastermind behind the conspiracy.

She faces several counterfeit charges as well as a charge of grand theft.

Misty Barnhill and Melissa Peacock face similar charges.

With the use of a highly sophisticated laser printer, the women reportedly used bogus American Express gift certificates at several large retailers in DeFuniak Springs and Crestview where they got tens-of-thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and cash.

"When these individuals were arrested, we searched where they were staying. We found more than $500,000 in counterfeit money orders made for Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie, postal service and others," said Investigator Bill Chapman of DeFuniak Springs Police.

Police say they expect to make a fourth arrest in the case.