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Florida man pleads guilty to stealing bank account information of dozens of victims

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jorge Alberto Alvarez, 35, a Cuban native living in Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to bank fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and a fine of $1,000,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that between October 10, 2017, and October 10, 2018, the defendant participated in a scheme to obtain the bank card information of customers utilizing gas pumps by installing skimming devices on the pumps.  Alvarez used the information to produce counterfeit access devices and then used the devices to fraudulently obtain money.

The defendant fraudulently obtained bank card information for approximately 131 individual customer accounts with various banks including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and SunTrust Bank. After obtaining the bank card information, Alvarez produced 93 counterfeit access devices to withdraw money from accounts.

On October 10, 2017, as the defendant attempted to enter the United States at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry, he was found to be in possession of the 93 counterfeit access devices, 16 internal gas pump skimming devices, a card reader/encoder with a modified USB cable, and several other items used in furtherance of the scheme. The total loss amount is approximately $57,000.00.

The plea is the result of an investigation by agents of the United States Secret Service at the direction of Special Agent in Charge Lewis Robinson.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 28, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

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