Four More Arrested in Connection with Nationwide Gas Station Skimming Scheme
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Four more people have been arrested in Florida and Pennsylvania in connection with an access device fraud and money laundering scheme, for stealing credit and debit card numbers of gas station customers across the country, including in Albany, Broome and Montgomery Counties in the Northern District of New York.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Inspector in Charge Joseph Cronin, Boston Division, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
The four defendants arrested today are:
- Yudiel Ceballos, age 33, of Miami, Florida, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud;
- Arley Gonzalez, age 34, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud;
- Marlon Palacios, age 36, of Miami and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft; and
- Yuny Hurtado Rodriguez, age 33, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
An initial indictment in this case, unsealed in October 2019, resulted in the arrests of:
- Joan Jesus Manso Dieguez, age 33, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and money laundering;
- Atnetys Ferreira, age 40, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering; and
- Hugo Hernandez, age 32, of Miami Lakes, Florida, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and money laundering.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
According to the indictment, from April 2016 through approximately December 2018, certain defendants – those charged with conspiring to commit access device fraud – built gas station skimming devices and installed those devices inside gas pumps so that they could steal credit and debit card data of customers who used the “pay at the pump” function to purchase gasoline. The defendants then used that data to create fraudulent debit and credit cards, which they or co-conspirators used to obtain money orders, gift cards, cash, and other merchandise. The indictment also alleges that certain defendants – those charged with conspiring to launder money – engaged in financial transactions with money orders and gift cards obtained through the scheme, to conceal the source of the funds and transfer money to bank accounts controlled by the members of the conspiracy.
This case is being investigated by the FBI Albany Field Office and USPIS Boston Division, with assistance from the FBI Field Offices in Miami and Pittsburgh, the USPIS Miami Division, and the United States Secret Service Miami Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rick Belliss and Emily C. Powers.