LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Four Cuban nationals, who traveled from Florida to Louisa, were convicted of using a credit card skimmer to steal thousands of dollars, according to the Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Rusty E. McGuire.
Julio Marquez-Franco, 29, Breisys Martinez, 23, Yesenia Rodriguez-Lopez, 21, and Braya Hernandez, 32, pleaded guilty to 14 felonies, including six counts of credit card theft, six counts of credit card fraud, one count of credit card forgery, and one count of conspiracy.
McGuire said the group came to Central Virginia and set up a skimmer, a device used to steal credit card information, on a gas pump at Elk Creek Store and New Bridge Market. The group waited several days to retrieve the device, which contained the stolen credit card information. Officials say the group then made counterfeit credit cards with a laptop and used other items they hid in the ceiling of their motel.
The fake credit cards appeared to be legitimate cards issued in the defendants' names.
According to McGuire, once the group made the credit cards, they began making purchases at various stores. They purchased electronics and household goods and then abandoned them in the parking lot in an effort to mask the purchase of several thousands of dollars of prepaid credit cards, McGuire said.
The group then took the cards back to Miami where they were sold at about 80 percent of face value.
"I encourage everyone who uses credit cards to practice vigilance when dealing with the use of their cards," said McGuire. "While technology is certainly making lives easier, it also makes it much easier for criminals to obtain personal information, create mountains of fraudulent credit card debt and drain bank accounts. It is imperative that you report any unauthorized purchases on your credit or debit cards to the bank immediately, then follow up with your local sheriff's department or other law enforcement agency. These four individuals, who scammed thousands of dollars, would not have been caught without the diligence of cardholders in reporting the unauthorized transactions."
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