BROOKSVILLE, FL – According to authorities, on April 23, 2021 at approximately 3:00 p.m., Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Speedway gas station located at 18635 Cortez Boulevard in Brooksville, FL in reference to a man pumping large amounts of diesel fuel into a pickup truck. The suspect made multiple credit card transactions to purchase the fuel and left the gas station prior to law enforcement’s arrival.
A deputy in the area was able to locate the suspect’s vehicle, a blue Dodge Ram 3500 truck with a flatbed and rails, in the area of Cortez Boulevard just west of Interstate 75. The deputy conducted a traffic stop where the driver of the vehicle was identified as 45 year old Mayquel Simon-Hernandez.
Hernandez, who resides in St. Petersburg, gave consent for deputies to search the vehicle. Deputies located a wallet containing 31 gift card-style cards that were later determined to contain fraudulent credit card information. An investigation revealed the fraudulent credit card information was likely obtained through the use of skimming devices.
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According to detectives, Hernandez had been purchasing gift cards preloaded with fraudulent credit card information for about two years and used the fraudulent credit cards to purchase diesel fuel, which he then resold. Hernandez utilized a truck modified to hold large quantities of fuel.
Hernandez was charged with trafficking in counterfeit cards, organized fraud, criminal use of personal identification information, possession of personal identification information, and unlawful conveyance of fuel. His bond was set at $22,000.
In a separate investigation, on April 25, 2021 at approximately 9:45 a.m., Hernando County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Speedway gas station located at 18635 Cortez Boulevard in reference to a man pumping large amounts of diesel fuel into a Volkswagen Jetta. Deputies were able to locate the suspect still parked at one of the gas pumps and was identified as 36 year old Yoandry Almanza-Lara.
Lara, who resides in Miami, was located with numerous gift cards in his possession. At the time of his arrest, Lara had made three transactions totaling 94 gallons of diesel fuel at a cost of $280.06 and had been at the same gas station the previous day and purchased 99 gallons of diesel fuel at a cost of $295.15.
Detectives located 31 gift cards inside the vehicle that were later determined to be fraudulent. An investigation revealed the fraudulent credit card information was also likely obtained through the use of skimming devices. While searching the vehicle detectives located a large metal tank in the trunk of the vehicle. The vehicle also had an electric fuel pump, a fuel meter, fuel hoses, and a fuel nozzle.
Lara was charged with trafficking in counterfeit cards, organized fraud, and unlawful conveyance of fuel. Lara’s bond was set at $12,000.