Identity theft and credit card fraud spree leads to three years in prison
The third of three Cuban nationals was sentenced to three years in federal prison on May 30 for using at least 54 stolen identities and card numbers to make fraudulent purchases.
21-year-old Liliany de Armas Mena, a Kentucky resident, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
36-year-old Pedro Alvarez Rodriguez, a Florida resident, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, and 27-year-old Dunieski Santana Moreno, also a Florida resident, was sentenced to 40 months in prison following guilty pleas to the same offense.
Information presented during the court hearing showed that de Armas Mena, Alvarez Rodriquez and Santana Moreno used fraudulent credit cards with at least 54 "skimmed" account numbers to buy gift cards and gift card reloads at Wal-Mart stores across the state of Iowa.
The scheme involved evading detection by authorities by moving across county borders. De Armas Mena, Alvarez Rodriguez, and Santana Moreno visited Wal-Mart stores in 16 different counties across Iowa over the span of four days in January and February 2017.
Alvarez Rodriquez was previously convicted in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in 2015 following a separate incident involving the use of counterfeit cards and stolen account numbers at a Wal-Mart. Santana Moreno was previously convicted in Sumter county, South Carolina in 2015 for financial transaction card theft.
“Identity theft plagues Americans and financial institutions across the country and has a real impact on people’s everyday lives,” United States Attorney Peter Deegan said. “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to protect innocent Iowans from these schemes and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
U.S. District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand sentenced De Armas Mena to 36 months in prison and two years of supervised release following the prison term. All three have been ordered to make $5,655.08 in restitution to the victims.