Two Cuban nationals used skimmers to steal the identities of Ohioans and make fake credit cards, which they then used to purchase goods at Sam’s Club stores throughout northeastern Ohio, according to a federal indictment.
Silvio Leon, 45, and Pablo Arrechavaleta, 41, both of Miami, Florida, were indicted this week for conspiracy to commit credit-card fraud, access-device fraud and aggravated identity theft, the FBI said in a press release.
Federal prosecutors say Leon and Arrechavaleta were part of a ring that “covertly” installed credit card skimmers on gas station pumps in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado, Iowa and other states between May 2016 and June 2018. They then downloaded the stolen credit-card information and stored it on flash drives, according to the indictment.
Leon, Arrechavaleta and others then re-encoded the stolen account information and other data onto counterfeit credit cards, which they used to make purchases at Sam’s Club stores in Mentor, Canton, Cuyahoga Falls, Cleveland, Oakwood Village and other Ohio cities, according to the indictment.
They had information for nearly 5,000 credit-card accounts when they were arrested on June 12, according to court documents. The case was investigated by the FBI and Mentor Police Department.
Mentor police received calls from people complaining of fraudulent charges on their credit cards at Sam’s Club stores, and a detective determined that all of the victims had visited the same gas station, the affidavit states.
Sam’s Club employees looked through their records and discovered someone had used a fake ID to obtain a member card and had used the stolen credit card information to make more than $120,000 in purchases in 2017 and 2018.
North Olmsted police pulled the men over June 12 when they were found with an array of credit cards, electronic equipment and other items.
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.