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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Ringleader Of Florida-Based Identity Theft Scheme Sentenced To 78 Months In Federal Prison

Last of Ten Defendants Sentenced in Scheme That Involved Installing Card- Skimming Devices in Gas-Pumps, Creating Cloned Credit Cards Using Captured Account Numbers, and Using Cloned Cards to Bulk-Buy Prepaid Cards at Meijer Branches Throughout the Greater Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing Areas

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Guillermo Rodriguez, 45, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to serve 78 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for leading a wire-fraud and identity-theft conspiracy that operated between Florida and Michigan for several months during 2015, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today.

          Rodriguez is the last of a total of 10 defendants sentenced in the course of a long-running investigation that was led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Lansing office of the FBI’s Detroit Division, and that resulted in three related cases that were prosecuted in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. In addition to Rodriguez, the following defendants, all of whom were residents of the Miami, Florida, area, received lesser prison sentences based on their varying roles in the scheme and whether they cooperated with investigators after their arrests: Yunier Cudello-Albelo, 33, was sentenced to serve 69 months; Yaimari Gonzalez-Santos, 39, was sentenced to serve 12 months; Juan Ledesma, 27, was sentenced to serve 63 months; Elisabe Hernandez-Perez, 46, was sentenced to serve 12 months; Yoel Alfonso, 39, was sentenced to time-served in pretrial detention; Dunieski Gutierrez, 41, was sentenced to serve five months; Jesus Carrazana, 45, was sentenced to serve six months; Isabel Tiedemann, 29, was sentenced to time-served in pretrial detention; and Yimi Garcia-Rodriguez, 29, was sentenced to serve 24 months.

          "This is the second gas-pump skimmer scheme my Office has prosecuted over the last few years," stated U.S. Attorney Birge. The first involved a group operating out of Austin, Texas, and resulted in seven convictions and a prison sentence of over 12 years for its leader, Antonio Dejesus Perez-Martinez. "This second investigation and series of prosecutions should send a second strong message to any group that might contemplate coming into West Michigan to carry out this scheme that we are ready, willing, and able to federally prosecute every member of that group. If a criminal is bound and determined to commit gas-pump identity theft, West Michigan is definitely not the place they want to try it."

          "The crime of identity theft and the scams associated with it have become more sophisticated and pervasive. These individuals thought they could target victims around the country with impunity," said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division. "The FBI, along with our federal, state and local partners, is dedicated to stopping these perpetrators and educating the public so that citizens do not fall victim to these schemes."

          The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen W. Frank. The case was investigated primarily by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Rapids Metropolitan Fraud and Identity Theft Team, the Michigan State Police, the Unites States Postal Service, and the Michigan Department of Weights and Measures (which has regulatory responsibility over commercial gas pumps). Employees of Meijer Theft Protection Services also provided valuable assistance.

END

Updated November 28, 2018