Tampa Man Sentenced To More Than Six Years For Credit Card Fraud And Identity Theft
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew has sentenced Alberto Yuniel Garcia (31, Tampa) to six years and two months in federal prison for engaging in the manufacture and use of counterfeit credit cards and identity theft. He pleaded guilty on July 7, 2016.
According to court documents, from as early as 2013, and continuing through 2015, Garcia and others possessed and used counterfeit credit cards to purchase items, including gift cards, at retail stores throughout the Tampa Bay area. They obtained stolen credit and debit card numbers from unsuspecting account holders in a variety of ways, including from skimmers placed on gas station pumps. They then re-encoded gift cards with the stolen account numbers in order to create counterfeit credit cards, which they used to purchase merchandise and gift cards that they used for their own benefit or sold for cash. Garcia and those working with him used the stolen account numbers without the account holders’ knowledge or permission and shared in the proceeds of the fraud and identity theft.
On February 19, 2014, law enforcement officers removed four skimmers from gas pumps at a Hess Station in Brooksville. Members of the U.S. Secret Service’s Financial Investigation Strike Team determined that the Hess Station was a common point of compromise for credit card fraud victims. Once investigators obtained store surveillance videos and receipts for the fraudulent transactions, they discovered that Garcia and his co-conspirators were the individuals using the counterfeit credit cards that had been re-encoded with the stolen account information skimmed from customers at the Hess Station.
During yesterday’s sentencing hearing, the Court found that Garcia was involved in various conspiracies to commit credit card fraud and identity theft that affected more than 35 financial institutions and over 1,000 victims. The government estimates the actual loss to individuals as a result of these conspiracies was over $700,000.
This case was investigated by the Tampa Police Department, the United States Secret Service, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mandy Riedel and Eric Gerard.