Montgomery County

Feds: Multiple indictments in credit card skimming investigation; Case included Fonda gas station stakeout

Yudiel Ceballos (left) and Yuny Rodriguez Hurtado in 2017 (insets); Photos of skimming machines found in Fonda in 2017
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Yudiel Ceballos (left) and Yuny Rodriguez Hurtado in 2017 (insets); Photos of skimming machines found in Fonda in 2017

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Schenectady County

FONDA — A total of eight people are now facing federal indictment in connection with a multi-state credit card skimming ring that included a state police stakeout of a Fonda gas station.

Federal prosecutors announced five new indictments in the case; there were three indictments last fall. The suspects face fraud and money laundering charges. All are from the Miami area.

They are accused of running a scheme where they hid devices inside gas pumps to steal customer credit card information. The suspects then returned later to collect the data and used it to make duplicate cards and steal money, federal prosecutors said.

The alleged ring targeted gas stations across the country, but also gas stations in Montgomery and Albany counties. Once they had the numbers, they would make purchases, including gift cards, the indictment reads.

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Conspirators traded gift cards on exchange websites with a total face value of more than $2 million, the indictment reads.

The allegations cover the period from April 2016 to December 2018. Authorities discovered several such devices at Montgomery County stations in September 2017. Another discovery at a Fonda station in December 2017 led state police investigators to disable the devices and wait for the operators to return, authorities said then.

The conspirators traveled around the country, including to California, Kansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee to install the devices, prosecutors said.


In one instance, a co-conspirator withdrew $200 in Florida from a debit account owned by a Capital Region resident who had used a pay-at-the-pump in Amsterdam, the indictment alleges.

In another instance, a co-conspirator allegedly possessed three thumb drives that together contained more than 4,200 stolen debit or credit card numbers.

The conspirators installed the devices and harvested the data while distracting clerks, the indictment reads. They also allegedly used vehicles to shield what they were doing.

Indicted were:

  • Yudiel Ceballos, 33, of Miami, conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
  • Arley Gonzalez, 34, of Miami, conspiracy  to commit access device fraud.
  • Marlon Palacios, 36, of Miami and Pittsburgh, Pa., conspiracy to commit money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
  • Yuny Hurtado Rodriguez, 33, of Miami, conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
  • Joan Jesus Manso Dieguez, 33, of Miami, conspiracy to commit access device fraud and money laundering.
  • Atnetys Ferreira, 40, of Miami, conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Hugo Hernandez, 32, Miami Lakes, Fla., conspiracy to commit access device fraud and money laundering.
  • Yanio Montes De Oca, 33, of Miami, conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Ceballos and Rodriguez were charged locally after the Fonda stakeout, but those charges gave way to the federal prosecution, officials said. Rodriguez was also previously identified as Yuny Rodriguez Hurtado.

The case is being investigated by the FBI Albany Field Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Boston and Miami divisions, FBI Field Offices in Miami and Pittsburgh and the U.S. Secret Service Miami Field Office.

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