The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement are putting the brakes to a multi-million dollar fuel scam.
Four peoples have been charged with racketeering and two others have been charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering for fuel theft and credit card skimmers. These are Felony (1) charges and the accused could be facing upwards of 30 years in prison for what the sheriff calls a highly organized crime ring.
Florida Department of Agriculture Commisioner, Adam Putnam and the Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi identified criminal conspiracy using skimmers, counterfeit credit cards and the theft of both gasoline and diesel fuel.
The investigation began when a deputy saw a strange scene at a Polk City gas station. It was late at night, the gas station that was already closed. A computer was inside the suspects vehicle along with several blank credit cards. From there the Polk County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation in December of 2017 and recently wrapped it up Tuesday with arrest warrants for six individuals involved.
Twenty-six year-old Yosel Menendez, 34 year-old Victor Alvarez Cano, 49 year old Diosdado Gonzalez Morejon, 41 year-old Marie Carmen Serrano Abril and 41 year-old Frank Perez have been arrested in connection to the racketeering crime. Detectives are still looking for 55 year-old Carlos Gonzalez who is known to be in the Haines City and Miami areas.
The investigation uncovered skimming devices at cities across both Polk County and Hillsborough.
The devises were installed at different pumps, the suspects then copied the information, created new cards and bought large amounts of gas. This fuel was then sold to other parties at a lesser value.