Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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Crime:

Ninth suspect sentenced in counterfeit credit card scheme

The leader of a group of Californians accused of stealing information from Las Vegas bank card readers and ATMs in order to make counterfeit cards was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges last year.

Jacob Villanueva Jr. of Fontana, Calif., was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 81 months in prison and must pay $30,000 in restitution for his role in a scheme to counterfeit credit cards.

The 35-year-old, who pled guilty in March 2012, is the ninth conspirator to be sentenced in the scheme, which allegedly ran from November 2009 to November 2011, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

The defendants are accused of installing skimming devices on the exterior door readers at a number of JP Morgan Chase bank branches in Las Vegas, which captured customer account data when they swiped their card, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The defendants also allegedly installed pinhole cameras on ATMs in order to capture customers’ personal identification numbers.

The skimmed data was used to create counterfeit credit cards that the defendants used for their own personal gain, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The scheme originated in California but was relocated to Nevada in order to evade law enforcement, the office said.

Villanueva Jr. has a number of prior convictions in both Nevada and California for possession of controlled substances, receipt of stolen property and domestic violence crimes.

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