Houston men sentenced in ETX gas pump skimmer case

Houston men sentenced in ETX gas pump skimmer case
Tomas Falcon Casanova (Source: Gregg County judicial record)
Tomas Falcon Casanova (Source: Gregg County judicial record)

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - From the office of Acting U.S Attorney, Brit Featherston:

Two Houston men were sentenced today in separate cases for their involvement with gas pump skimmers, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.  A skimmer is a device capable of reading and recording account information, including customer names, account numbers, and personal identification numbers, from credit and debit cards.

"These devices victimize individual cardholders as well as the issuing financial institutions," said Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. "The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas will continue to partner with federal, state, and local law enforcement to combat this threat."

On June 22, 2017, Dennys Miguel Arias Gonzalez, 46, of Houston, was indicted along with Tomas Falcon Casanova for violations related to their possession of skimmers and stolen account information.  On September 5, 2017, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit and unauthorized access devices.  Today, he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark to 11 months in custody.  Casanova has also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.  He faces a term of imprisonment for up to 10 years.

According to information presented in court, Gonzalez and Casanova were traveling together in Smith County, Texas, when they were found to be in possession of multiple skimmers, counterfeit credit cards, and a laptop computer, containing stolen credit and debit card account information. 

On June 22, 2017, Beniurkis Hernandez Rodriguez, 31, of Houston, was indicted along with Tamara Valle for violations related to their use and possession of skimmers and stolen credit and debit card information.  On Sep. 5, 2017, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit and unauthorized access devices.  Today, he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark to 10 months' imprisonment.  Valle has also pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week to approximately 10 months' imprisonment.  Upon release from confinement, Rodriguez and Valle are required to surrender to immigration officials for deportation proceedings.

According to information presented in court, Rodriguez and Valle had traveled together to a gas station in Longview, Texas, to retrieve two skimmers from pump terminals that had been installed for the purpose of stealing customer account information.  Stolen account data was then downloaded onto a laptop computer that was recovered from their vehicle.

These matters were investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Smith County Sheriff's Office, the Longview Police Department, the Overton Police Department, and the Tyler Police Department.  The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Nathaniel Kummerfeld.