Credit Card Skimming Gang Members Sentenced To Federal Prison in Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah: A U.S. District Court Judge has sentenced Emmanuel Dejesus Nina-Perez, 31, of Salt Lake City, to 27 months’ imprisonment following a guilty plea. Nina-Perez is the last person involved in a long-running scheme that cheated petrol station customers and their banks by using hidden Bluetooth devices to steal credit card details.

Several individuals, including foreign nationals and residents of Salt Lake City, have recently pleaded guilty to being involved in a gas scheme conspiracy. The conspiracy took place over a period of three years, from 2017 to 2020, as revealed in court documents and statements made during the change of plea hearing.

The defendants carried out their scheme by installing Bluetooth-enabled skimming equipment onto the petrol pumps’ internal computer motherboard, allowing them to gain control.

Skimming equipment is equipped with a Bluetooth card reader/recorder that captures important information, including the customers’ credit card number, name, and zip code linked to the card. Following installation, the defendants would position themselves near the Bluetooth skimming device to establish a wireless Bluetooth connection at the petrol pump. The defendants would proceed to download the digital credit card/debit card information captured by and stored in their skimming device.

The defendants proceeded to encode the data captured onto duplicate cloned cards, which they would then utilise to make purchases of fuel and various other items. Many of the individuals involved, like Nina-Perez, had ties to long-haul trucking or were themselves long-haul truck drivers. Altogether, the defendants are accountable for more than $200,000 in losses.

Furthermore, Padron-Cruz received a 48-month prison sentence, Almonte received a 36-month prison sentence, Pereda-Mendez received a 39-month prison sentence, Artigas-Reyes received a 45-month prison sentence, and Delgado-Valdes received a 50-month prison sentence. Both parties have been directed by the court to provide joint restitution to the victims.

The court has also ruled for the confiscation of $38,372 in cash that was seized from the residence of Nina-Perez’s co-defendants during their arrests.