TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has arrested a Central Florida man for possessing 44 counterfeit credit cards that were allegedly re-encoded with stolen financial information and used to make fraudulent purchases.
Raul R. Dominguez Espineta of Altamonte Springs, Fla. allegedly acquired the financial information through a skimming device and used the counterfeit credit cards to fraudulently purchase fuel.
“This is just one example of our department’s efforts to help protect Floridians and visitors from scams, fraud and theft,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “We will continue to pursue unscrupulous individuals who prey upon hard-working Floridians.”
The department assisted the Orange County Sheriff’s Office after they observed Espineta putting fuel in an unlawful aftermarket fuel tank located in the bed of his pickup truck and found that he was in possession of 44 counterfeit credit cards. The department’s investigation found that the counterfeit credit cards were re-encoded with personal information of consumers from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York.
Espineta was booked in the Seminole County Jail on the following charges:
· Organized Scheme to Defraud, a third degree felony, one count;
· Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information, a third degree felony, five counts;
· Traffic in Counterfeit Credit Cards, a second degree felony, one count; and
· Defrauding a Financial Institution, a second degree felony, one count.
The department is responsible for investigating criminal offense such as organized gasoline theft, credit card skimming devices, identification theft, and counterfeit credit card activities related to the use of retail fuel pumps in Florida.