Federal judge sentences foreign nationals in $200,000 skimming scheme

Federal judge sentences foreign nationals in $200,000 skimming scheme

salt Lake City – A federal judge sentenced Yoffre Napoleon Almonte, 49, to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and felony identity theft.

Almonte will spend three years in US federal prison and pay $199,122.18 in restitution.

Almonte and five others were arrested for allegedly using high-tech skimming devices at gas pumps at Utah and Idaho service stations to “clone” customers’ credit or debit cards.

According to a news release from the Utah US Attorney’s office in Utah, Almonte “participated in a scheme to defraud gas station customers and their banks by using skimming equipment to steal customers’ credit card information.”

His method was different from traditional “skimming” machines that are designed to look like part of a pump.

The news release states, “Almonte and his alleged co-defendants used a Bluetooth wireless device installed on the computer motherboard of the internal computer controlling the ATM/Gas Pump. The defendants could then initiate a wireless Bluetooth connection.” and could download all digital credit card/ATM card information stored by the device.

People will never see the skimming devices because they are inside the pump.

They created fraudulent cards with stolen information and used them to steal $200,000 in gasoline and other items, the release said.

These cases of skimming are not uncommon.

For example, in July of 2020, another foreign national, 38-year-old Alexandru Kosmin Licor admitted to the court According to the office of US Attorney John Huber, he installed skimmer devices equipped with magnetic card readers, data recorders, digital cameras and batteries at Zion Bank ATMs along the Wasatch Front.

The skimming equipment collected bank customer card data and cameras recorded the PIN pad as customers entered their codes. banking information was stolen From at least 2,732 subscribers between January and February of 2015.

Court documents say the licensor attempted to withdraw $512,960.13 and actually stole $189,740.30.

FBI agents arrested Licor in Romania in late 2019 after tracking him around the world.

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