Ed Rudy, a Boca Raton gas station manager, found two men attempting to open up one of his pumps in order to scam credit card information. He immediately called the police as he watched them on a security camera. Police arrested Daniel Osman Milian-Diaz (30) and Francisco Costa-Perez (34). Both men are charged with skimming-device fraud and criminal mischief for the damage they caused to the gas pump.
What is Skimming?
Fraudsters essentially will break into a device that reads credit card information, install the device, and then collect the credit card information of those using the pumps or other devices. The information is encoded on the device and then the fraudsters gain access to that information and make illegal purchases with the credit card information they’ve stolen.
Skimming is defined in Florida Statutes 817.625. It is considered a third-degree felony and is punishable by a maximum of five years in state prison.
The gas station manager told reporters that he had removed at least two skimming devices from inside his pumps prior to the incident. Rudy was on his lunch break eating when the two men pulled up. He noticed suspicious activity and when the men broke into the pump, he called police.
The second charge the men will face is criminal mischief. Criminal mischief is defined as a property crime. Someone destroys, defaces, or otherwise causes damage to property. In this case, the men are alleged to have done $350 worth of damage. This will likely be charged as a misdemeanor.
While these two men are facing charges for skimming, they could also face further charges if an investigation reveals that they had used the devices in the past. Further, if they successfully stole money from anyone’s account, that would also be a separate charge. The theft would be charged separately as well. In other words, these individuals could be facing far more serious charges than the ones they’ve been presently charged with.
Police will conduct an investigation, subpoena their financial records and computers to determine if they purchased anything with stolen credit card information.
Defenses to Skimming Charges
It’s pretty hard to defend yourself when you’re caught in the act. The defendants could raise the defense that they were mistakenly identified by the police. Police caught up with them shortly after they left the gas station, so the efficacy of this defense would depend entirely on what information was recorded on camera. In this case, the witness provided police with a license plate number, so there goes that defense.
Since these two were caught red-handed and their license plate is on video, they don’t really have any working defense to these charges other than the fact that they never profited from the fraud. If they did, however, they could be looking at much stiffer charges.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to discuss your situation and learn more about how we can help.