Fla. residents admit to stealing more than $40,000 using credit card skimmers in Va., N.C.
ABINGDON, Va. (WSET) -- Two Florida residents, who prosecutors said used electronic devices to illegally skim credit card numbers from gas stations through Virginia and North Carolina for eight months, were sentenced on federal charges Monday.
Yunior Manuel Torres-Blanco, 25, of Hialeah, Fla., was sentenced earlier this week to 42 months (3.5 years) in prison.
Ynaisel Garcia, 22, also of Hialeah, was sentenced to 36 months (3 years) in prison.
They both pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated identity theft and one count of credit card fraud.
Garcia also pleaded guilty to four counts filed in 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 Thomas Cullen stated. "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 to August 2017, the two suspects placed credit card skimmers on various gas pumps throughout Virginia and North Carolina, capturing the credit card information of customers purchasing gas.
As part of the scheme, Torres-Blanco and Garcia were able to get the stolen credit card information from the skimmers, create new cards using the stolen numbers, and used them to buy gift cards, services, and merchandise.
In August 2017, a Roanoke County detective 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 determined that the two suspects were inside.
When approached by police for a traffic stop, Garcia tried to elude officers 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, 68 unopened gift cards, 86 credit cards, 83 of which had been recoded 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.