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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Sentenced for Directing a Scheme to Steal Diesel Fuel from Gas Stations and for Illegally Possessing Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that William Cole, 32, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 70 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release by United States District Court Judge Gerald A. McHugh for directing a scheme to steal diesel fuel from gas stations and illegally possessing firearms.

In October 2023, Cole pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

From March 2021 through June 21, 2023, the defendant purchased stolen credit card data and had co-conspirators fill up auxiliary tanks at Philadelphia-area gas stations, at his direction and using his trucks, with more than $750,000 worth of diesel fuel, using those unlawfully obtained credit card numbers. Cole would then resell the diesel fuel at a discounted rate.

On June 26, 2023, during a court-authorized search of Cole’s residence, Homeland Security Investigations recovered a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition and a Glock 27, which had been modified with a conversion kit into a fully automatic pistol. Cole had previously been convicted of state drug and gun offenses in Pennsylvania and was not permitted to be in possession of firearms.

“Cole fueled his scheme using other people’s stolen information and armed himself with guns he knew he shouldn’t have,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “This sentence holds him accountable for both his financial and firearms offenses. We’ll continue to work with HSI and our other valued partners to prosecute repeat offenders like William Cole.”

“Fraud through the manipulation of financial systems is one of the core investigative priorities of Homeland Security Investigations,” said William S. Walker, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia. “Convicted felons like William Cole need to be held accountable for perpetrating fraud schemes targeting commercial businesses. Cases like this one are only accomplished when dedicated agents and prosecutors work side-by-side to bring fraudsters to justice.” 

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia’s El Dorado – Cyber Crimes Investigations Task Force (C2iTF) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Josh A. Davison.

Updated March 28, 2024