US Jails Cuban Credit Card Skimming Crew

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The United States has imprisoned the leader and several members of a cyber-gang that stole $5m in a skimming attack on gas pumps in the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to court documents, the six conspirators placed skimming devices on gas pumps located in Northampton County. The devices recorded the credit and debit card numbers, along with their PINs, of customers who used their card at the pump to pay for gas.

In April and May 2018, the crew traveled to various branches of the supermarket Harris Teeter, among other destinations, and used the stolen card information to withdraw money from the victims’ bank accounts. The illicitly obtained financial data was also exploited to purchase prepaid gift cards.

The all-male crew, who are all Cuban nationals residing in Florida, was sentenced on January 5 to a total of more than 28 years in prison. Four of the men were convicted of aggravated ID theft while all six were convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Several other conspirators involved in the attack remain at large and are thought to be living in Mexico.

The Department of Justice said that many of the conspirators "had significant criminal histories involving the same conduct and were known to travel the country perpetrating this scheme." Over the course of several years, the gang caused victims to suffer aggregate losses of over $5m.

Crew leader Yasmani Granja Quijada used his email account to deal in stolen data. The 33-year-old was found to be trading over 9,800 additional stolen credit card numbers. 

Quijada received the largest sentence of 120 months in prison. Twenty-nine-year-old Luis Miguel Fernandez Cardente received 64 months; 31-year-old Jorge Bello Fuentes, 60 months; 34-year-old Guillermo Bello Fuentes, 47 months; 40-year-old Pedro Emilio Duran, 30 months; and 29-year-old Yariel Monsibaez Ruiz, 19 months. 

The FBI and US Marshals Service seized numerous vehicles and other items that were purchased by the criminals with stolen funds, including a 2006 Triton 2895CC Boat and trailer, a 2017 Ford F250 Super Cab truck, a 2016 Cruise Radiance Travel Trailer RV, a 2017 Ford Escape SUV, a 2017 Maserati Ghibli, and a 2013 Porsche Panamera.

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