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Press Release

Pair of Florida Residents Sentenced for Southwest Virginia Gas Pump Skimmer Scam

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Yunior Torres-Blanco and Ynaisel Garcia Previously Pled Guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A pair of Florida residents, who for nearly eight months used electronic devices to illegally skim credit card numbers from gas station customers throughout Southwest Virginia and North Carolina, were sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court on a pair of federal charges, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.

Yunior Manuel Torres-Blanco, 25, of Hialeah, Fla., was sentenced earlier this week to 42 months in prison. Ynaisel Garcia, 22, also of Hialeah, was sentenced to 36 months in prison. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated identity theft and one count of credit card fraud.  In addition, Garcia previously pleaded guilty to four counts filed in the Middle District of North Carolina – conspiracy to commit access device fraud and three counts of access device fraud.

“These defendants stole the identities of hard-working Virginians and caused tens of thousands of dollars in financial loss,” United States Attorney Cullen stated today. “I am grateful for the hard work of the Roanoke County Police Department and the Secret Service in bringing them to justice.”

Investigators determined that between December 2016 and August 2017, Torres-Blanco and Garcia placed credit card skimmers on various gas pumps throughout Southwest Virginia and North Carolina, and captured the credit card information of customers who purchased gasoline.  As part of the scheme, the defendants retrieved the stolen credit card information from the skimmers, created new cards using the stolen numbers, and used the cards to purchase gift cards, services, and merchandise.

In August 2017, a detective with the Roanoke County Police Department recognized a vehicle with Florida plates traveling in Botetourt County as one similar to a vehicle suspected of being involved in a gas pump credit card skimming scheme. It was soon determined that Torres-Blanco and Garcia were inside the vehicle. When approached by law enforcement for a traffic stop, Garcia attempted to elude law enforcement and Torres-Blanco threw items, later identified as gift cards, from the window.  Once they stopped the vehicle and were able to search it, investigators found two credit card skimmers, a laptop computer, 68 unopened gift cards, 86 credit cards, of which 83 had been re-coded with stolen credit card information, a new 55-inch television and a new 65-inch television. In all, Torres-Blanco and Garcia obtained more than $40,000 in merchandise, gift cards and services.             

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Roanoke County Police Department and the United States Secret Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer prosecuted the case for the United States.  Assistant United States Attorney JoAnna G. McFadden prosecuted Ms. Garcia on the four counts brought in the Middle District of North Carolina.

Updated August 15, 2018

Identity Theft