NASHUA — A Florida man was sentenced this week in federal court for his involvement in a widespread scheme to steal customers’ debit and credit card account numbers and personal information from gas stations across New England.
Among the targeted locations was a gas station in Nashua.
Luis Angel Naranjo Rodriguez, 32, of Hialeah, Florida, received a five-year prison sentence followed by three years of supervised release from U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns.
Naranjo Rodriguez was also ordered to pay $21,267 in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
The fraudulent operation involved the covert installation of card skimming devices at gas pumps in New Hampshire and other New England states.
These devices were designed to clandestinely transmit stolen account information to Naranjo Rodriguez’s mobile phone, shortly after customers used their cards to make gas purchases at the compromised pumps.
Card skimmers linked to Naranjo Rodriguez’s mobile phone were discovered at 11 different gas stations, including one in Nashua, New Hampshire, along with Lynnfield, Concord, Malden, Taunton, Randolph, and Raynham in Massachusetts, as well as Portland, Maine, and Willington, Connecticut.
From April to November 2019, Naranjo Rodriguez frequently traveled from Florida to Massachusetts to maintain the network of card skimmers.
Throughout the scheme, his mobile phone received over 4,800 text messages containing stolen debit and credit card account numbers.
Many of these messages also contained the names and Personal Identification Numbers of the account holders.
Using the account information he had obtained, Naranjo Rodriguez cloned victims’ accounts onto gift cards and other prepaid cards.
He then proceeded to exploit the stolen funds through various means, including making ATM withdrawals, purchasing high-value consumer goods for resale in secondary markets, and requesting cash back on debit card transactions.
Naranjo Rodriguez’s illicit activities were captured on security cameras on November 16, 2019, at a gas station in Framingham and a CVS store, where he used four cloned cards to withdraw money from victims’ bank accounts at ATMs.
Later that same night, he was apprehended tampering with a fuel pump at the Concord Rotary Gulf gas station.
Authorities found four cloned cards from the earlier ATM withdrawals, as well as fuel pump keys, black latex gloves, four card skimming devices, and the mobile phone that had been receiving the text messages with stolen credit and debit card account numbers.