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Press Release

Miami Man Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Conspiracy in Connection with Nationwide Gas Station Skimming Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Yanio Montes De Oca, age 33, of Miami, Florida, pled guilty today to participating in a conspiracy to launder funds derived from a nationwide gas station skimming scheme that involved stealing the banking and personal information of residents of Upstate and Central New York who used the “pay at the pump” feature to make gasoline purchases.

The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon; 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).

As part of his guilty plea, De Oca admitted to being a part of a conspiracy that, between December 2015 and July 2019, laundered thousands of gift cards that were obtained using fraudulent debit and credit cards encoded with information stolen using gas station skimming devices. After obtaining the gift cards from co-conspirators, De Oca sold them on a gift card exchange website using a “bulk seller” account he established in the name of a Florida company he created in 2015 for that purpose. After selling the fraudulently obtained gift cards, De Oca transferred the resulting amounts to bank accounts he controlled. De Oca then distributed some of the money he obtained through gift card sales to other conspirators, retaining the rest of the funds for himself. As part of his plea agreement, De Oca agreed to be subject to a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $1,020,193.10.

A sentencing hearing is set for July 13, 2021, before Senior United States District Judge Gary L. Sharpe. De Oca faces up to 20 years in prison; a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater; and up to 3 years of supervised release. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

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.

Updated March 10, 2021

Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud