Authorities Arrest Six in Odessa for Credit Card Skimming Device Scheme
This morning, authorities arrested six Cuban nationals for their roles in an alleged credit card skimming device scheme announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glen Hegar and Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis.
A federal grand jury indictment, returned on January 25, 2017 and unsealed today, charges the following individuals with one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft: Juan Adelmo Bermudez, age 46; Jorge Manuel Batista-Gonzalez, age 37; Michel Sarmiento, age 36; Andy Cruz-Leyva, age 45; Sandra Alva Escobar-Carballosa, age 31; and, Livan Sanchez-Leyva, age 38.
According to the indictment, since January 1, 2015, the defendants, under the direction of Livan Sanchez-Leyva and his wife, Sandra Alva Escobar-Carballosa, allegedly conspired to place skimming devices on pumps at local gas stations in order to steal credit card numbers and personal identification information from members of the public. The defendants would then use the stolen information to produce and use “cloned” credit cards to purchase hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel from local gas stations. After acquiring the diesel fuel, the defendants then sold it to others. The known loss amount resulting from the defendants’ scheme is estimated to be more than $37,000.
Upon conviction, the defendants face up to ten years in federal prison for access device fraud and a mandatory two years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft. The defendants remain in federal custody pending detention hearings scheduled for next week.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Permian Basin Oilfield Theft Task Force; Texas Comptroller’s Office - Criminal Investigation Division; and, the Ector County Sheriff’s Office. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); United States Marshals Service; Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS); Odessa Police Department; Midland County Sheriff’s Office; and, the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office assisted in today’s arrests. Assistant United States Attorney V. LaTawn Warsaw is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.