Eighteen Defendants Charged by Federal and State Authorities in Connection with Credit Card Fraud Scheme
Eighteen defendants have been charged by federal and state authorities in connection with a scheme to traffic in stolen credit card account numbers and to manufacture counterfeit credit cards.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), and Juan J. Perez, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), made the announcement.
Jaime Fernandez Del Pino, 27, of Miami, Florida, Julio Arjona Gomez, 50, of Miami Gardens, Florida, and Dayan Borges, 29, of Doral, Florida have been charged by federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit access device fraud in connection with the scheme. An additional fifteen defendants have been charged by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office.
Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg stated, “This investigation demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to find, apprehend and bring to justice organized criminal enterprises such as this that use technology and the Internet to steal and sell personal identifying information for personal gain. It should also serve as notice to those thinking about engaging in, or those engaging in, this type of criminal activity, the days of hiding behind technology and the Internet are over.”
“In conjunction with the excellent investigative team at the Miami-Dade Police Department and other partner agencies, we remain focused in dismantling the proliferation of these criminal fraud organizations that are based in South Florida and traversing across the United States,” said U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Brian Swain.
Director Juan J. Perez said, “The Miami-Dade Police Department will continue to collaborate with local and federal law enforcement agencies to stop organized criminals from preying on our community. The hard work demonstrated during this investigation should serve as a reminder to those who seek to victimize the people of Miami-Dade County; we will aggressively pursue each and every one of you.”
According to the Complaint, the investigation began as a joint effort between the United States Secret Service and the Miami Dade Police Organized Crime Section. Law enforcement identified an organized criminal enterprise (“OCE”) involved in an ongoing scheme to traffic in stolen credit card account numbers and manufacture counterfeit credit cards. Certain members of the OCE were tasked with illegally installing credit card scanning devices (“skimmers”) at gas station pumps throughout the United States, for the purpose of stealing the credit card account information of gas station customers. Once the numbers were obtained, they were sent to Miami for use in the production of counterfeit credit cards. The counterfeit credit cards were then passed on to “mules” who either travelled back to the cities where the stolen credit card account numbers were obtained or were deployed locally to make fraudulent purchases. Although stolen credit card numbers were generally “skimmed” from gasoline pumps, the OCE also obtained them through the use of illegal websites.
The investigation revealed an email account linked to Del Pino and Arjona, who were using the account to operate a clandestine credit card manufacturing facility capable of producing up to 1,000 counterfeit credit cards daily. On April 19, 2017, investigators obtained authorization to intercept the electronic communications occurring over the email account and over the next month, investigators intercepted emails from an additional thirteen email accounts, containing the stolen credit card information of nearly 900 victims. Investigators thereafter obtained additional authorization to intercept communications occurring over the email account for an additional thirty days, which uncovered similar stolen credit card information and indicators of fraud.
Thousands of victims’ personal identifying information was used in the scheme, resulting in millions of dollars in losses to both victims and financial institutions. Today’s announcement reaffirms law enforcement’s commitment to crack down on credit card and other access device fraud.
During the week of November 13, 2017, law enforcement executed fifteen search warrants and two consent searches arising out of the investigation, at different locations throughout Miami, West Palm Beach, and Orlando, Florida and Colorado Springs, Colorado. During those searches, law enforcement recovered, among other things, the following items:
Thousands of counterfeit credit cards
Over 50,000 blank credit card stock used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards
Numerous electronics containing thousands of stolen credit card account numbers
Hundreds of counterfeit state identifications
Hundreds of gas pump skimmers used to steal the credit card account numbers
Numerous credit card printers and embossers, including several credit card making labs containing all products necessary to create counterfeit credit cards
Approximately $95,000 in United States cash
Nine vehicle seizures including a Mercedes Benz, Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford F350, Range Rover, BMW, a Kia Sonata, and a bladder truck used to steal gasoline
High-end jewelry including nine watches worth over $100,000
70 marijuana plants and 27 lbs of packaged marijuana
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the USSS and the MDPD Organized Crime Section, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Orlando Police Department, and Colorado Springs Police Department. Mr. Greenberg also thanked the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this investigation. This case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan D. Stratton and Robert Juman.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.