2 charged with skimming credit cards from gas pumps

The two Cuban nationals, who were deported in 2019, bought gift cards from area stores; arrested in Dayton.

Two Cuban nationals were arrested by federal law enforcement officers last week for allegedly placing skimmers on gas pumps in southwest Ohio in order to steal credit card data.

Surveillance video in April shows Yasmany Ulacia Garcia, 34, and Luis Ernesto Vigil Ochoa, 29, allegedly using that stolen credit card information to purchase gift cards and other merchandise at Home Depot stores around the region, including in Hamilton and West Chester Twp. in Butler County, Mason and Lebanon in Warren County, Beechmont area in Hamilton County, Milford in Clermont County, and Cold Spring in Northern Kentucky.

Similar video surveillance shows the two defendants also allegedly using stolen credit card information to purchase gift cards at Target in Mason.

Garcia, 34, and Ochoa, 29, were arrested by police officers on Thursday in Dayton. Their cases were unsealed on Monday, and the charges were announced by Kenneth Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

The defendants allegedly placed credit card skimmers at gas pumps in Loveland on multiple occasions in April 2022, according to the criminal complaint. Garcia and Ochoa then allegedly stole credit card information acquired by the skimmers in order to purchase gift cards at area stores.

Garcia and Ochoa were fugitives for about seven months before they returned last week to southwest Ohio and were encountered by law enforcement. Agents said they were staying at a hotel on Miller Lane in Dayton, and followed the defendants to four Home Depot stores and two Target stores in the greater Dayton area.

Agents discovered multiple gift cards and a fraudulent American Express card in their vehicle. Law enforcement searched their hotel room and discovered a magnetic strip reader and writer and a skimming device.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement records show Garcia and Ochoa were ordered removed from the United States in 2019.

The possession of a skimmer device with the intent to defraud is a federal crime they could face up to 15 years in prison.

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