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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Superseding Indictment Filed In Skimming Device Case

HARRISBURG- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Jeshua Paonessa-Velez, age 25, and Luis E. Arochom age 39, both of York City, Pennsylvania, were indicted on January 18, 2017, by a federal grand jury on a second superseding indictment charging them with bank fraud and identity theft.


The indictment was unsealed following Arochom’s arrest and arraignment on January 20, 2017, before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson. Arocho was ordered detained. Paonessa-Velez’s arraignment is tentatively scheduled for January 31, 2017.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the first superseding indictment in May 2015, also brought charges against Arturo Meireles-Candel, age 34, of York City. That superseding indictment charged that Paoness-Velez and Meirels-Candel worked together and devised a scheme to obtain money from Adams County National Bank and Jersey Shore State Bank by placing “skimming” devices on the banks’ ATMs, capturing identification information of the bank customers using those ATMs, and either loading that information onto access devices and making purchases with those access devices, or making direct cash withdrawals out of customer accounts. The superseding indictment also charged both Paonessa-Velez and Meireles-Candel with sixteen counts of aggravated identity theft for stealing means of identification of sixteen of the banks’ customers. Meireles-Candel pleaded guilty to charges in the Superseding Indictment in exchange for no new charges being filed against him.


The new charges brought today by the grand jury in a second superseding indictment add additional instances of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft discovered by investigators and also an additional alleged participant in the scheme. The new charges include allegations of fraudulent activity at Member’s First Federal Credit Union in Hershey and Mechanicsburg, Santander Bank in Spring Grove and York, Centric Bank in Linglestown, Fulton Bank in Hershey, and Jonestown Bank and Trust in Lebanon.


The Adams County National Bank and the retail establishments where the defendants allegedly made the purchases using the stolen identities cooperated in the investigation. The bank reimbursed all of the affected customers for the losses to their accounts.


The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Southwestern Regional (York) Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, Derry Township Police Department, and Lower Paxton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Clancy is prosecuting the case.


Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The maximum penalty under federal law for the bank fraud offense is 30 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The penalty for aggravated identity theft is 2 years of imprisonment consecutive to any sentence imposed for the underlying bank fraud offense. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated January 24, 2017