CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The sentencing phase has begun for five defendants who were part of a credit card skimming scheme spanning four states before it ended in Huntington last year.
Yarai Fuentes Quinones, 27, of Hialeah, Florida, was sentenced Monday to serve three years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley in the Northern District of West Virginia after previously having pleaded guilty to access device fraud-use of an unauthorized access device in June. She was also ordered to pay $61,844.66 in restitution.
Quinones, Meylan Montalvo Gomez, 27, of Hialeah, Florida, and Yosan Pons Sosa, 29, and Naudi Reyes Fernandez, 37, both of Miami, Florida, were arrested in Huntington, which was the city where the scheme ended last year. Lazaro Serrano Diaz, 27, of Miami is also a co-defendant in the case, but was not with the group at the time of their Huntington arrests.
According to federal prosecutors, from Sept. 1 until Oct. 23, 2017, the defendants would travel from Miami to Baltimore or New York City, where they would rent a vehicle to travel to New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and West Virginia. They would place a skimming device inside a gas pump, later returning to use Bluetooth technology to upload credit card information to a laptop.
In late October 2017, West Virginia State Police received information about two possible credit card skim victims who alleged unauthorized transactions had been made on credit cards in Morgantown, even though the owners were still in possession of their cards.
Police tracked the transactions to a pharmacy, where a clerk had written down the defendants’ license plate number, stating they had come into the store acting suspiciously with a “wad” of U.S. currency and brightly colored credit cards, which were later found to be encrypted with the victim’s account information.
The defendants were later tracked down to a hotel in the 800 block of 3rd Avenue in Huntington, where they were arrested.
At the time of their arrest, assistant prosecutor Ryan Hamady said officials had not found a Cabell County victim and the case was turned over to federal authorities.
During her plea, Quinones admitted to her role the in conspiracy. She admitted the conspiracy involved using skimming devices at gas pumps, using technology to upload the account information and creating fraudulent cards with the stolen account numbers to make unauthorized transactions at different businesses in West Virginia and other states.
Her co-defendants have also pleaded guilty in the case and are awaiting sentencing.
Gomez, Sosa, 29, Diaz and Fernandez previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Fernandez also pleaded guilty to access device fraud-possession of device-making equipment.
With the plea of each defendant, the United States was previously granted the forfeiture of 33 gifts cards containing an unknown value, $72,495,73 in cash, $38,798 in money orders, a magnetic strip card reader, writer and encoder, two laptops and six cellphones.
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