Florida man pleads guilty to laundering money from gas station skimming scheme

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A Miami man has pled guilty to laundering money stemming from a nationwide gas station skimming scheme. As part of the plea 33-year-old Yanio Montes De Oca has agreed to forfeit over $1 million.

De Oca admitted laundering proceeds from a scheme prosecutors say involved devices fitted to gas station pumps across the country. Several of the devices were attached to pumps in Upstate and Central New York, including Albany, Broome and Montgomery Counties.

These devices recorded credit and debit card information from customers using the “pay at the pump” feature to make gasoline purchases.

Between December 2015 and July 2019, the card information was used to purchase gift cards that were given to De Oca. The 33-year-old then sold the cards on a gift card exchange website using a “bulk seller” account he established in the name of a Florida company he created in 2015.

De Oca admitted proceeds from the gift card sales were transferred to bank accounts he owned and then partially distributed to his co-conspirators, with De Oca keeping the remaining money.

The 33-year-old was arrested for the offence in August 2020. Seven co-conspirators were also arrested and charged, they are:

  • Joan Jesus Manso Dieguez, age 33, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and money laundering;
  • Atnetys Ferreira, age 40, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering; and
  • Hugo Hernandez, age 32, of Miami Lakes, Florida, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and money laundering.
  • Yudiel Ceballos, age 33, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud;
  • Arley Gonzalez, age 34, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud;
  • Marlon Palacios, age 36, of Miami and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft; and
  • Yuny Hurtado Rodriguez, age 31, of Miami, charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

De Oca is due to be sentenced on July 13. In addition to the money the 33-year-old has agreed to forfeit, he faces up to 20-years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater; and up to 3 years of supervised release.

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