Credit card skimmers are electronic devices often placed over the card-swipe mechanisms on gas pumps. When a person purchases gas with a card, the skimmer captures and records the card’s information stored in its magnetic strip. That data is later downloaded and exploited fraudulent purchases or to manufacture a counterfeit credit card.
A recent set of indictments reveal just how seriously authorities are taking this particular act. The seven defendants are facing charges of bank fraud, conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.
According to the FBI, the men committed “devious fraud utilizing technology.” They installed credit card skimmers on gas station pumps at stations in several states in order to obtain debit card numbers and the PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) the card owners used when paying for gasoline.
The U.S. Attorney General said the seven men range in age from 27 to 41. One of the defendants, age 35, faces a maximum possible sentence, if convicted on all charges, of 187 years in a federal prison. He also faces a $7.25 million fine.
A 41-year-old defendant faces up 177 years behind bars and a $6 million fine. The lowest possible period of incarceration among the seven defendants is 25 years. Others face terms of 155, 93, 79 and 71. The smallest possible fine among the seven is $750,000. All of the others could potentially be fined from $2 million to $6 million.
The jaw-dropping numbers make clear the seriousness of the charges and the importance to each defendant of speaking with an Ann Arbor attorney experienced in effective white collar defense in the federal court system.