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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

Friday, June 14, 2013

Leader Of Credit Card “Skimming” Group Sentenced To Over Six Years In Prison

            LAS VEGAS –The leader of a group of Californians who were stealing information from bank card readers and ATM’s in order to make counterfeit cards, has been sentenced to 81 months in prison and ordered to pay almost $30,000 in restitution for his guilty pleas to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. 

            Jacob Villanueva, Jr., 35, of Fontana, Calif., was sentenced on Thursday, June 13, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon.  Villanueva, Jr. was charged in March 2012 with conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, and he pleaded guilty in September 2012.  Ten other defendants in the case also pleaded guilty.  Eight have been sentenced to prison and two are awaiting sentencing.  One defendant is awaiting trial.

            According to the court records, beginning in about November 2009 and continuing through Nov. 4, 2011, the defendants installed skimming devices in the internal electronics of the exterior door readers at a number of JP Morgan Chase bank branches in Las Vegas in order to capture a customers’ account data when they slid their cards through the readers.  The defendants also installed pinhole cameras on the ATM pin pads in order to capture customers’ ATM personal identification numbers (PINs).  The defendants then used the stolen information to manufacture counterfeit credit cards, which they used for their own personal gain.  The scheme was originally located in California, and the defendants relocated it to Nevada to evade law enforcement. 

Villanueva, Jr. has a number of other prior convictions for controlled substances, receipt of stolen property, and domestic violence crimes, in both Nevada and California.

            This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.

            This case was handled in connection with the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices and state and local partners, it's the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit
Updated January 29, 2015