Texas men sentenced for using card skimmers to steal identities, money
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced today that two men from Austin, Texas, were sentenced for using a credit card skimmer to steal people’s identities, then create fake credit cards and steal thousands of dollars from their private bank accounts.
Emicel Artigas Garcia, 39, was sentenced to 54 months in prison and Adalberto Ramos Cuellar, 42, was sentenced to 51 months in prison by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. They also face three years of supervised release and must pay $2,637.31.
According to the guilty pleas, the defendants were observed on July 14, 2017 at a Bossier City retail store’s self-checkout counter swiping multiple cards in order to purchase prepaid money and gift cards. Bossier City police later approached the defendants in the parking lot and found seven credit cards and three gift cards in Cuellar’s possession, which bore the defendants’ names. After the electronic information was obtained from the cards, law enforcement agents found that stolen identities were on the cards, even though they were labeled with the defendants’ names. Police later searched the defendants’ car and found seven USB thumb drives, one laptop, eight additional re-encoded cards, a cell phone, a gas pump key, and a gas pump skimmer. Gas pump skimmers are illegal devices used to steal credit card information. The evidence from the seized devices showed that the defendants downloaded private card information between October 2016 and July 2017. The cell phone contained pictures of screens showing the stolen information, and the laptop contained compromised credit/debit card data for 793 additional cards.
The U.S. Secret Service and the Bossier City Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tennille M. Gilreath prosecuted the case.