Texas Comptroller’s officers work with federal officials to halt credit card plot

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AUSTIN — An investigation conducted by police officers with the Texas Comptroller’s Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI has led to the indictment of six people for their roles in an alleged credit card skimming device plot.

According to a federal indictment unsealed Feb. 9, the defendants allegedly conspired to place skimming devices on gas pumps in Odessa to steal credit card numbers and personal identification numbers from customers.

Defendants used the stolen information to make cloned credit cards to purchase hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel from gas stations, and then resold the fuel to others.  Officials estimate victims lost more than $37,000 in the plot.

“I’m proud of the hard-working men and women in the Comptroller’s Criminal Investigation Division and the long hours of vigilant police work that went into this investigation,” said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

“By working closely with the dedicated officers of our partner law enforcement agencies, together we were able to build a case that sends a clear message: We will vigorously work to protect the safety, identity and hard-earned dollars of law-abiding Texans all over our great state.”

The following were charged with one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft: Juan Adelmo Bermudez, 46; Jorge Manuel Batista-Gonzalez, 37; Michel Sarmiento, 36; Andy Cruz-Leyva, 45; Sandra Alva Escobar-Carballosa, 31; and Livan Sanchez-Leyva, 38.

The FBI’s Permian Basin Oilfield Theft Task Force, Texas Comptroller’s CID and Ector County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. For more information about CID and the crimes it investigates, go to the Comptroller’s website.

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