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Old 02-29-2004, 09:31 PM
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Default my tennants busted incape coral florida, check this out!

Big credit-card skim ring busted

Raids net 9 accused of stealing numbers, PINs

By CHARLES RUNNELLS, [email protected]
Published by on February 29, 2004

A series of simultaneous raids Saturday morning led to arrests in what investigators called the biggest credit-card skimming ring Lee County has ever seen.

The nine suspects were charged with swiping customers? credit cards at Southwest Florida businesses and restaurants and using that encoded information to make fake credit cards, investigators announced Saturday afternoon at the Cape Coral Police Department.

The suspects then would use the fake credit cards to buy tens of thousands of gallons of gasoline and then resell it at ?tremendous profits,? State Attorney Steve Russell said.

The fake credit cards were used for gasoline and other purchases throughout Southwest Florida and as far away as Europe and the Caribbean, said Bob Lee, an assistant state attorney in charge of the local economic crime unit. The international crimes also involved some banks.

?Skimming? refers to the practice of using pager-sized, battery-powered credit card readers to steal people?s credit card numbers and PINs and later make cloned cards. All that information is encoded on a credit card?s magnetic strip.

The suspects were charged with 465 counts of racketeering and fraud. Lee said he couldn?t release the number of victims.

They charged an estimated $20,000 per week on the cards, investigators reported.

Cape Coral Police Chief Dan Alexander said the arrests would send a message to other would-be credit card skimmers.

?We?ll identify you,? Alexander said. ?We?ll arrest you.

?And we?ll prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.?

The suspects? methods echo those of three Cape residents arrested on skimming charges in April 2003. Those arrests marked the county?s first skimming case, and the suspects have yet to go to trial.

Investigators wouldn?t say whether the latest arrests were connected.

?We?re quite frankly still trying to figure this out,? Alexander said. ?There are a lot of things that we need to identify, in terms of size and scope.?

He said investigators still need to interview the suspects and analyze evidence from the 5 a.m. raids in Cape Coral and unincorporated Lee and Collier counties.

Credit card readers can be bought for $500 to $700 and are usually meant for merchants who travel or who work outdoor events.

More arrests are expected, Lee said.

Investigators said they seized nine trucks, two tractor trailers, several fuel storage tanks, cash, computers, skimming equipment and boxes of fake credit cards. They wouldn?t be more specific Saturday.

Some of the suspects worked at local businesses and restaurants. Investigators wouldn?t say which businesses were the scenes of the crimes, where the the gasoline was stolen or to whom the gasoline was sold.

They also wouldn?t say what other items were bought with the fake credit cards, how much was charged on the cards or other specific details.

Russell said skimming and other identity-theft crimes are a growing problem throughout Florida and the United States.

The investigation started in July 2003 after someone gave a tip to Crimestoppers.

The money from the gasoline sales funded other criminal enterprises, investigators said. But again, they wouldn?t be specific.

Investigators said they acted quickly because of the hazardous nature of the crime. The gasoline operation was unregulated and unlicensed and could have resulted in an explosion.

?It was a very, very dangerous situation,? Alexander said.

Police didn?t encounter any resistance when they served the warrants Saturday, Cape police Capt. Bill Rivers said.

The suspects arrested were:

? Dairi Cardenas, 33, of 1495 Everglades Blvd., Naples;

? Nivaldo Gonzalez, 30, of 6990 Rich Road, North Fort Myers;

? Jose Hernandez, 54, of 1814 Hanson St., Fort Myers;

? Ricardo Lee, 40, of 1427 S.E. 10th Terrace, Cape Coral;

? Juan Nelson Palenzuela, 47, of 4029 Skyline Blvd., Apartment 101, Cape Coral;

? Angel Perez, 44, of 1006 N.W. Eighth Terrace, Cape Coral;

? Luar Perez, 23, of 4900 S.W. 107th Ave., Cape Coral;

? Jose Ramon Simon, 42, of 1320 S.E. 24th Ave., Cape Coral; and

? Ubaldo Suarez, 29, of 1495 Everglades Blvd. N., Naples.

The investigation was conducted mainly by the Cape Coral Police Department and the state attorney?s office. It also involved the Fort Myers Police Department; the Lee, Charlotte and Collier county sheriff?s offices; the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; the United States Secret Service; the U.S. Postal Service and the Cape Coral Fire Department.

Back to Cape Coral

Last edited by hugetime1; 02-29-2004 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 02-29-2004, 09:43 PM
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Did they accidentally leave an unclaimed tanker full of C17 lying around?

Sure could put it to good use...
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Old 02-29-2004, 09:59 PM
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No punishment is too severe for stuff like this......
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Old 03-01-2004, 12:51 AM
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its a terrible feeling to look at your credit card bill and see $10,000 worth of gas you never purchased...I know that feeling....prosecute them to the fullest
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Old 03-01-2004, 08:05 AM
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Not to start any kind of racist thought process, but I couldn't help wondering after reading the list of names, if any of them are here legally?

South Florida, all Hispanic sounding names....
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Old 03-01-2004, 08:10 AM
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Looks like the rent might be long in coming Huge.
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Old 03-01-2004, 08:33 AM
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Damn Hugetime!

Unreal...Well, at least you gave them a nice cozy place to chill.
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Old 03-01-2004, 08:36 AM
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As a victim of identity theft, hang'em....
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Old 03-01-2004, 09:20 AM
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Originally posted by Just Say N2O
Not to start any kind of racist thought process, but I couldn't help wondering after reading the list of names, if any of them are here legally?

South Florida, all Hispanic sounding names....
I had the same thought.
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Old 03-01-2004, 09:43 AM
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Identity theft is NOT COOL and can take you YEARS to recover from! I hope they put each of them in a cell with Bubba who is HORNY and ready for some fun!
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