8 skimming suspects face federal charges

Top, left to right: Yunier Cudell-Albelo, Juan Estrada-Galvez, Raul Gonzalez Falcon and Yaimari Gonzalez-Santos. Bottom, left to right: Elisabe Hernandez-Perez, Juan Antonio Ledesma, Manuel Perez-Cabrera and Micheles Velasquez-Gregori. (Courtesy mug shots)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The eight suspects who authorities say are responsible for incidents of “skimming” at West Michigan gas stations this summer are now being charged in federal court.

Yunier Cudell-Albelo, Juan Estrada-Galvez, Raul Gonzalez Falcon, Yaimari Gonzalez-Santos, Elisabe Hernandez-Perez, Juan Antonio Ledesma, Manuel Perez-Cabrera and Micheles Velasquez-Gregori face federal charges in connection to skimming incidents at gas stations across the state.

According to federal court documents, each faces three charges: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and access device fraud.

Federal authorities say their cases trace back to a few months ago when skimming devices were found at gas stations in West Michigan. The first set of suspects was arrested at a hotel in Grandville. Later, three more suspects were arrested in Wyoming after they were caught with skimming devices, authorities say.

Skimmers are set up inside gas station pumps and can steal customers’ credit or debit card information without their knowledge. Once crooks have your card numbers, they can be used to make purchases.

The devices are often placed at pumps farthest from the station, where workers wouldn’t be able to see someone tampering with the pump. Gas stations that close at night are also often targeted.

As the eight suspects’ cases move through the federal court system, authorities have urged customers to be cautious at the pump. Anyone who notices fraudulent charges on their card statement should contact their bank and their local police. You can also call the MDARD Weights and Measures Division at (517) 655-8202.

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