Miami-Dade County Credit Card and Gas Scheme Results in Felony Charges on the State and Federal Level
February 23, 2018
Miami-Dade County prosecutors recently announced at a press conference that several individuals have been arrested for using counterfeit credit cards to purchase gasoline and reselling it on the black market. In all, twelve individuals have been charged with offenses such as racketeering, fraudulent use of credit cards, money laundering and dealing in stolen property. According to the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office, a Medley company listed as South River was purchasing fuel with stolen credit card information, illegally transporting the fuel, and reselling it. The company's owners, as well as the drivers, have been arrested as a result of the investigation. The vehicles used to transport the fuel had covertly outfitted fuel bladders that posed a serious risk of fire and explosion, according to the State Attorney. Detectives from the Miami-Dade Organized Crime Bureau alleged that the group committed at least a $100,000 in fraudulent transactions. This local Miami fraud case may result in prison time and felony charges for many of those involved.
Is There a Precedent for This Complex Criminal Circuit?
Similar arrests have been made in Miami, but this is the first time an entire ring has been arrested. According to detectives, personal information is "skimmed" from devices attached to fuel pumps. That information is transferred to blank credit cards with magnetic strips, which are in turn used to illegally purchase the fuel. The culprits then travel from gas station to gas station, never charging in excess of $100, until the cards reach their limit. The gas is then pumped into the bladders and transported to purchasers, including tow truck and rental car companies.
How Does Florida Deal with Trafficking in Credit Cards?
Trafficking in counterfeit credit cards is a felony offense under Florida law. Anyone charged with trafficking in or possessing counterfeit credit cards can be charged under Florida Statute 817.611. Anyone possessing 5 to 49 cards is facing a second degree felony and up to fifteen years in prison. Anyone caught with more than 50 fraudulent cards is facing a first degree felony and up to 30 years in prison. The Miami Credit card fraud lawyers
at DMT have represented dozens of individuals charged in State and Federal Court for this offense. Other charges that may be pursued are the unlawful possession of the personal information of another person and the possession of credit card making equipment. All of these offenses are felonies under Florida law and carry significant penalties.
There May Be Federal Repercussions...
On many occasions, if the level of fraud is substantial, involving large numbers fraudulent credit cards, or during the investigation someone is caught with a large amount of personal information of unsuspecting individuals, the Feds have been known to take the case from the State level and elevate the case to the Federal level. In Federal Court, anyone possessing personal information belonging to individuals such as social security numbers, addresses, and dates of birth can and will be charged with possession of personal access devices. In Federal Court, this offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years. On top of the two years, a defendant will be facing a guideline sentence largely dependent on the amount of social security information found in their possession.
If you're dealing with a fraud charge, contact Donet, McMillan & Trontz at (305) 444-0030