Ringleader of credit card skimming operation convicted
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The alleged ringleader of over a dozen participants in a credit card skimming operation has been convicted of federal charges.
The Grand Rapids U.S. Attorney’s Office says that Antonio DeJesus Perez-Martinez, 44, of Austin, Texas was convicted Tuesday after a four-day trial in Grand Rapids. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, credit account fraud and aggravated identity theft. The Attorney’s Office says that the scheme reached from Texas and Colorado, to Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.
Perez-Martinez is the last of eight defendants in the case. Four of the others pleaded guilty and received sentences of 21 months in prison, because they had no prior records. Another was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Others received misdemeanor local charges.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says that Perez-Martinez is a Cuban citizen and a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., with a green card. He apparently recruited other Cuban citizens who had come to the U.S. in 2014 under a special “parole” for Cuban citizens who present themselves to immigration authorities at the border. Perez-Martinez’s scheme involved getting credit-account data from illicit websites and encoding the data onto cards to buy other gift cards and stored-value cards. During 2015, investigators say that Perez-Martinez switched from getting his card data online, to using skimming devices on gas pumps.