A man has been charged with defrauding family and friends out of tens of thousands of dollars, including his daughter who was unable to secure a student loan after he opened credit cards in her name.

Robert Charles Love, 52, faces five felonies: theft, two counts of deceptive practices and two counts of identity theft. Love, who also faces two counts of misdemeanor theft, appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Thursday. He was booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on Wednesday with a $75,000 bond.

Love allegedly opened credit cards in his daughter’s name and racked up charges of at least $13,000, court records allege.

He spent the money on a cruise to Mexico for himself and his girlfriend, stays at Chico Hot Springs, tanning bed sessions, annual referee fees to the Montana High School Association, restaurant and hotel tabs, pedicures and a court fine and supervision costs related to a DUI case, along with other purchases. Witnesses in the case told investigators they believe he also spent money on steroids. 

Love also allegedly added his girlfriend’s car to his daughter’s insurance policy without her consent, charges state.

A witness told investigators Love had attempted to fraudulently open credit cards in the past, including in the names of his son, ex-girlfriend, the children’s mother and Love’s parents. Love charged $20,000 to the credit card he opened in his parents’ names, records allege.

The daughter learned of the fraud while applying for a loan for college. She was denied based on a low credit score, but had previously had a high credit score, she said.

Love also took $8,810 from the bank account of an acquaintance during the victim’s three-month hospital stay out of state and paid it to one of the fraudulent credit cards. Love later used that card to make payments to the same man on a truck Love was buying from him, according to charges. When Love still owed $19,000 on the truck, he tried to trade it in at Hertz Auto Sales but couldn’t because the title was still in the other man’s name, charges state.

Love also attempted to charge the man’s accounts for tires and a new transmission on a second truck.

A witness told investigators Love had been fired from a pest control job in California for stealing chemicals from the company and using the company gas card as his own.

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Public safety reporter for the Billings Gazette.