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Having your identity stolen is extremely frustrating, and the effort to correct all the damage done can be mind-numbingly time consuming. You have to cancel your credit cards, fight fraudulent charges, and try to repair your credit. Thankfully, one more thief is behind bars after authorities discovered the credit card skimming scheme he was running in Virginia.
Gas Station Skimmers Fuel Crime
Identity theft is considered the unauthorized use of personal identification information to commit credit fraud or other crimes. Receiving the occasional complaint about unauthorized credit card use is par for the course. So, authorities became suspicious and began to investigate in March 2017 when they started receiving an abnormal amount of complaints out of Chesapeake, VA. Investigators identified 43 victims who lost a combined total of $7,105.70.
Using surveillance videos and tips from citizens, detectives made the connection to skimming devices installed on gas station pumps by two men from Miami, Florida. Authorities arrested 31-year-old Juan Quintero Garcia and his accomplice, 28-year-old Omar Machado Blanco. Garcia had served a previous five-and-a-half month sentence in 2016 for using credit card skimming devices at gas stations in Tennessee.
The Plea and Sentencing
For these new crimes, both men pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, with Garcia also pleading guilty to illegal possession of credit card-making equipment. Both men were handed their sentences this month. Garcia was sentenced Monday to four years and four months in prison, while Blanco received a four-year and nine-month sentence a few weeks ago.
Identity theft has serious consequences. Whether you're a victim of identity theft, or you've been accused of a crime related to it, contact an attorney to better understand your rights going forward.