A Florida man has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for committing credit card fraud in Maine and four others from Florida pleaded guilty to conspiracy and access device fraud involving stolen credit cards.

Despite similar charges and the subjects’ sharing the same home state, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maine said the two cases are not related.

Juan Carlos Febles, 52, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to 34 months in prison by Chief Judge Nancy Torresen. Febles was also sentenced to three years of supervised release on the charges he faced, which were conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Febles pleaded guilty in August.

According to court records, Febles and three others used stolen credit and debit card numbers to purchase merchandise while in Florida.

According to police, the men stole the credit card numbers by installing a cable inside point-of-sale credit card machines to record the card information, a practice known as “skimming.” The card information is later collected from the machine and put on blank credit cards used by criminals, police said.

In June 2016, they traveled to Maine, where they purchased items at a Portland Walgreens and the Home Depot store in Augusta using stolen credit card numbers.

A Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office deputy stopped a car with Febles and two other men, and they were arrested after deputies found merchandise, fraudulent credit cards and a laptop computer containing more credit card numbers.

Another man charged in connection with the incidents, Yaisder Herrera Gargallo, was sentenced in November to 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Two others, Jose Castillo Febles and Meylisi Rueda, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

In a separate case, three Florida men and a woman pleaded guilty in Maine federal court to access device fraud and conspiracy.

Alejandro Caal, 45, of Tampa, Florida; Zulairam Ramos, 30, of Orlando, Florida; Adrian Teruel, 26, of Orlando, Florida; and Olga Valido, 51, of Kissimmee, Florida, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

According to the charges against them, the four bought merchandise and gift cards at Maine stores between October 2016 and March 2017 using credit card numbers stolen from Maine residents.

The Forecaster reported that the arrests, in March, were the result of a four-month investigation by the Falmouth Police Department after residents of the town reported fraudulent transactions on their credit or debit cards. Police said that cells, of three to four people, use illegally obtained card information to manufacture credit cards in Florida and then travel to Maine for a few days to use them at retail locations in the state, purchasing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of goods on each trip.

The four face up to 10 years in prison each on the access device fraud charges and five years on the conspiracy charges. They also face a $250,000 fine on each charge. The four pleaded not guilty to additional charges of aggravated identity theft and a bench trial is scheduled for Jan. 23.

They will be sentenced on the charges on which they pleaded guilty at a later date.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

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