Florida Man Indicted in Skimming Scheme at New England Gas Stations
BOSTON – A federal grand jury returned an indictment against a Florida man for his role in a scheme to install and maintain a network of electronic skimming equipment at gas stations across New England, in order to steal thousands of customers’ debit and credit card account numbers and other personally identifying information.
Luis Angel Naranjo Rodriguez, 29, of Hialeah, Fla., was charged with eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of possessing 15 or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices (the debit and credit card account numbers) and one count of possessing device-making equipment (the card skimming devices). Naranjo Rodriguez was previously arrested on related federal charges on March 9, 2020 and has been detained since that time.
As alleged in the charging documents, Naranjo Rodriguez secretly installed card skimming devices in gas pumps in Massachusetts gas stations and in other New England states. The devices were programmed to send Naranjo Rodriguez’s mobile phone a text message with captured account information after customers had used their debit or credit cards to purchase gas at the pumps where the devices were installed. Card skimming devices sending stolen account information to Naranjo Rodriguez’s mobile phone were traced to at least 11different gas stations located in Lynnfield, Concord, Malden, Taunton, Randolph and Raynham; Portland, Maine; Nashua, N.H.; and Willington, Conn.
Between April 2019 until November 2019, Naranjo Rodriguez traveled frequently from Florida to Massachusetts to maintain this network of card skimmers. During the course of the scheme, Naranjo Rodriguez’s mobile phone allegedly received nearly 5,000 text messages containing stolen debit and credit card account numbers. Many of these text messages also included the account holders’ names and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).
Naranjo Rodriguez cloned the account information stolen from unwitting gas station customers onto branded prepaid debit cards. On Nov. 16, 2019, Naranjo Rodriguez allegedly used four cloned cards to withdraw money from victims’ bank accounts at ATMs in Framingham.
The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a $1 million fine. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possessing device-making equipment provides for a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possessing 15 or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Frederick J. Regan, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Boston Field Office made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Concord, Lunenburg and Raynham Police Departments in Massachusetts, Nashua (N.H.) Police Department and the Portland (Maine) Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Abely and Fred Wyshak III of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.