By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – An Oklahoma City man was charged Thursday in Canadian County District Court as part of a credit card skimming scheme.
Sergio Burrola Moreno, 53, faces 48 felony counts that include obtaining property by trick/deception or false representation/pretense and false personation.
The Multicounty Grand Jury in Oklahoma City indicted Moreno and three other men for operating skimming devices in central Oklahoma that reportedly fleeced trucking companies and gasoline consumers out of thousands of dollars, according to the Oct. 19th indictment.
Moreno was formally charged with crimes that occurred between Feb. 16 and March 10 at Love’s Travel Stops and Casey’s General Store in Canadian County.
Canadian County Special Judge Charles Gass issued a warrant for Moreno’s arrest, setting bond at $149,000.
Also charged Oct. 19 in Oklahoma County District Court were Choctaw’s Reidel Valdes Montero, 37; Del City’s Jose Carlos Rizo, 37; and Miami, Fla.’s Jael Diaz-Morejon, 40.
“Unfortunately, criminals can find it all too easy to capture credit card information from consumers,” Attorney General Gentner Drummond said. “That information can then be used to make other purchases or even to empty a consumer’s bank account
“It’s important for consumers to be aware when filling up at the pump and to keep a close watch on your credit card transactions to make sure you don’t fall victim to these schemes.”
Diaz-Morejon was charged with one count of possession of a skimming device and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony, Montero was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a felony and one count of obtaining property by trick/deception or false representation/pretense and Rizo was charged with two counts of obtaining property by trick/deception or false representation/pretense and one count of false personation.
The indictment was signed by Angela Fitzgerald, foreman of the Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury.
Moreno “with intent to cheat and defraud did obtain fuel” on 24 occasions from the Canadian County businesses “by use of trick or deception/false representation/false instrument,” the court document shows.
The defendant is accused of falsely personating three individual victims by using their personal identification numbers and obtaining fuel multiple times as a result.
During this investigation, skimming devices were found at gas stations in Oklahoma City, Choctaw, Newcastle, El Reno, and Seminole County.
Ten witnesses appeared before the Multicounty Grand Jury – members of the Oklahoma City Police Department and Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, and representatives of Love’s Travel Stops, according to the indictment.
A RIPE TARGET
Authorities caught Diaz-Morejon in possession of skimming devices and other materials used for installing and reading skimming devices, which are used at gas pumps to read and copy credit card information.
In addition to capturing credit card data on skimmers, criminals often install small cameras to record information that consumers punch into gas pump keypads.
Credit card information is then used to create cloned or counterfeit cards that can be used to make fraudulent purchases.
Montero, Burrola and Rizo were caught using fraudulent cards at diesel gas pumps to fuel their trucks repeatedly over the course of several months.
Assistant Attorney General Ricky Lutz said credit card skimming at gasoline pumps is a nationwide problem, but that Oklahoma has become a ripe target due to the heavy amount of trucking traffic through the state’s interstate system.