HOUSTON – A Cuban citizen who resided in Houston was convicted for his role as the leader of an organization that installed hundreds of credit card skimmers in the Houston area over a six-year period, the attorney announced Monday American Jennifer B. Lowery.
Durlan Garica-Pupo, 31, pleaded guilty May 18, 2021 to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with access devices and one count of aggravated impersonation, according to a statement.
Garcia-Pupo was sentenced to 60 months in prison for conspiracy. He must also serve 24 months for aggravated identity theft, which must be served consecutively for a total prison sentence of 84 months. In passing sentence, Judge Rosenthal noted Garcia-Pupo’s leadership role in the scheme, the sophistication of the scheme, and the volume of stolen personal information involved.
Garcia-Pupo is expected to face dismissal proceedings after his incarceration.
From 2017 to 2019, Garcia-Pupo ordered other members of the program to install credit card skimmers at gas station pumps around Harris and Montgomery counties to steal personal and banking information. Garcia-Pupo also used at least one of these stolen identities himself to buy fuel.
Authorities searched his home and found a laptop containing up to 1,500 stolen credit card numbers as well as equipment to make credit card skimmers. Garcia-Pupo and his co-defendants sold the stolen information to other criminals or used the information to purchase fuel which was then resold at much lower prices to generate cash.
Two others, Lazaro Martinez-Garcia, 36, Houston, and Julio Cesar Blanco-Diaz, 41, Houston, had previously been sentenced to 33 and 24 months, respectively.
Garcia-Pupo has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a US Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
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