Cesar Vasquez Echeverria, a 28 year-old Santa Clarita man, has been charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of identity theft, grand theft and computer access fraud.
Echeverria is one of three men believed to be part of a ring of thieves who allegedly installed skimming devices at gas stations on computerized pay pumps. The devices are used to intercept and store credit card information and PIN numbers from unsuspecting customers. The skimming reportedly took place at locations across Los Angeles County.
The three men would then reportedly come back to retrieve the numbers using electronic equipment. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the stolen information was then encoded onto other credit cards and used to withdraw money from ATMs and to make purchases.
The three men were arrested on February 25 after a three-year investigation. At the time, they allegedly were in possession of 10,000 stolen credit card numbers. Items used to skim credit card numbers were recovered by investigators, along with $40,000 cash, a new Porsche and a Ferrari.
The other two suspects arrested by detectives were 39 year-old Albert Jose Gonzalez, of Lancaster and 42 year-old Los Angeles resident Josue Gustavo Albizuras. All three men are being held on $2 million bail. The Sheriff’s Department ID Theft North Taskforce and the FBI conducted the investigation.
The next court date for the suspects will be March 16 for a preliminary hearing. Each man could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.