The Florida Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement ended a large skimming and fuel theft ring in Central Florida.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced on Thursday that accused criminals in Kissimmee set up skimmers in gas pumps and stole debit and credit card information to buy large amounts of fuel which was sold on the black market.
“Keeping Florida safe is our top priority, and we will not tolerate criminals that aim to scam Floridians and visitors out of their hard-earned money,” said Putnam. “I applaud our agricultural law enforcement officers for their work to protect Florida, and I thank the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and the Secret Service for their critical support.”
With the help of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Secret Service task force, Florida agricultural officers arrested Vagda Menendez Hernandez, Yoel Torres and Osvel Aquino Lopez, finding three credit card skimming devices, 11 scanning devices, a card re-encoder, gas pump security seals and more than 50 counterfeit credit cards. They are currently all being held in the Osceola County Jail. They said the stolen fuel was being held in Torres’ Ford F350 and accused Menendez Hernandez of buying a Mercedes C-300 with the stolen funds.
They are facing the following charges:
- 11 counts of using a scanning device or skimming device to obtain payment card information, a third-degree felony;
- One count of using a re-encoder to place fraudulent credit card information on a counterfeit card, a third-degree felony;
- Three counts of possession of a credit card skimming device, a third-degree felony;
- One count of falsely making counterfeit credit card, a third-degree felony;
- One count of falsely embossing a credit card, a third-degree felony;
- One count of dealing in credit cards of another, a third-degree felony;
- One count of possession of credit card making equipment, a third-degree felony;
- One count of credit card forgery, a third-degree felony; and
- One count of possession of 50 or more counterfeit credit cards, a first-degree felony.
Torres faces additional charges, including: one count of unlawful conveyance of fuel, which is a third-degree felony; and two counts of obtaining fuel fraudulently, which is a second-degree felony.