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3 arrested in Marion County gas pump skimmer investigation

Posted at 4:07 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 16:07:40-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement announced three arrests following an investigation into a credit card skimming operation in Marion County.

On February 17, OALE investigators took Frank Benitez-Lopez, Armando Yeikel Carbonell-Rabi, and Royniel Fabelo-Cedeno into custody on an active arrest warrant.

Skimmers are small electronic devices illegally placed inside gas pumps. According to FDACS, each one has the potential for up to $1 million in consumer fraud. Because these small devices are often undetectable, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried warns Floridians should be aware of how to protect themselves at the pump.

On August 6, OALE investigators were made aware of the possible tampering of a fuel pump installed at a gas station in Marion County. Several male subjects were observed accessing the fuel pump in a suspicious manner. Investigators responded to the gas station and made contact with the male subjects.

Based on information obtained during the investigation, OALE had an arrest warrant signed for the subjects by a judge in the required judicial circuit on Feb. 15

The suspects, 31-year-old Frank Benitez-Lopez, 29-year-old Armando Yeikel Carbonell-Rabi, and 31-year-old Royniel Fabelo-Cedeno were taken into custody by OALE on Feb. 17

“With so many ongoing challenges, the last thing Floridians need is to be preyed upon at the gas pump. That’s why our department and our Division of Consumer Services remain hard at work to keep Floridians from falling victim to credit card skimming,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “After a thorough investigation by our Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement investigators, arrests were made for unauthorized fuel pump entry, with one individual in possession of credit card skimming devices and counterfeit credit cards. I thank our Agricultural Law Enforcement officers and investigators for their vigilance in keeping Floridians protected when they need it most.”

Frank Benitez-Lopez and Armando Yeikel Carbonell-Rabi were charged with:

  • One (1) count of Unauthorized Access to an Electronic Device, per F.S.S 815.06, (2nd degree felony)
  • One (1) count of Criminal Mischief, per F.S.S. 806.13(1)(b)(3), (3rd degree felony)

Royniel Fabelo-Cedeno was charged with:

  • Three (3) counts of Unauthorized Access to an Electronic Device, per F.S.S 815.06, (2nd degree felony)
  • Two (2) counts of Criminal Mischief, per F.S.S. 806.13(1)(b)(3), (3rd degree felony)
  • Four (4) counts of the Use of a Scanning Device, per F.S.S. 817.625(2)(a)(1), (3rd degree felony)
  • Twelve (12) counts of the Possession of a Skimming Device, per F.S.S 817.625(2)(c), (3rd degree felony)
  • Four (4) counts of Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communications Device, per F.S.S 934.21, (3rd degree felony)