Woman convicted in gas skimming case that Ozark Police solved

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Montgomery (WTVY)-- A Florida woman was recently convicted for her alleged involvement in a scheme to use skimming devices on gasoline pumps to steal credit and debit card numbers.

Ozark police officer Michael Chadwick is commended for his investigative work by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

The arrest of Eunises Llorca-Menses, 30, of Naples, Florida came after a multi-state investigation initiated by the Ozark Police Department. She was found guilty Friday by a federal jury in Montgomery.

Llorca Menses and her co-defendant Reiner Perez-Rives,34, off Houston, Texas, were charged by a federal grand jury in February with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Perez-Rives pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy and identity theft charges and awaits sentencing.

“As part of the scheme, Llorca-Menses and Perez-Rives, would rent vehicles and travel between Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia. During their travels, they would visit several gas stations and install a skimming device inside gas pumps. Through the skimming device, they collected gas station customers’ credit/debit card information and used that information to activate or reactivate credit, debit, or gift cards, and make unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals at gas stations and purchases at several places around the Southeast,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama Clark Morris said.

Law enforcement was able to uncover this scheme following multiple reports from victims concerning the unauthorized use of their debit cards. Working with financial institutions, the Ozark Police Department, along with state and federal partners, discovered that many of the victims had used their cards at the same gas station in Ozark, Alabama. At this station, they found a skimming device with Bluetooth capability installed on a gas pump. The Bluetooth technology allowed the defendants to collect a gas customer’s credit/debit information while sitting up to thirty-feet away from the gas pump.

“At the time of their arrest on December 21, 2016, Llorca-Meneses and Peres-Rives were found to be in possession of thirty-nine credit/debit cards that had been re-encoded with stolen credit/debit card numbers, along with an additional 317 gift cards. A Wal-Mart gift card that contained the stolen account information from a victim’s Capital One credit card and a key used to gain access to the inside of a gas pump was found in Llorca-Meneses’ purse. Law enforcement also found a homemade device with connectors that matched the connections on the skimming device found in the gas pump in Ozark in their luggage,” Morris said.

“I would like to thank all law enforcement partners who brought these criminals to justice,” stated Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker. “This is a win for all our communities as well as the men and women who stand up for justice every day. Teamwork is essential to the very being of law enforcement professional. The Ozark Police Department was happy to do our part and will continue the fight against crime and disorder.”

Llorca-Menses and Perez-Rives each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and payment of restitution to their victims. They will be sentenced later.