At least six people from Florida used gas station skimmers and self-checkout machines at Harris Teeter supermarkets to steal millions from unsuspecting victims in eight states, according to federal prosecutors.
Now they’re going to prison.
The ring leader, 33-year-old Yasmani Granja Quijada, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft last year, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a news release.
Five others who also pleaded guilty were previously sentenced to between one-and-a-half and five years in prison, prosecutors said.
“Mr. Granja Quijada acknowledges his wrongdoing and regrets his involvement in the conspiracy,” defense attorneys said in court filings. “He realizes there is no justification for his actions. He is remorseful and recognizes the need for punishment. Mr. Granja Quijada has accepted responsibility for his crimes.”
Granja Quijada was arrested in June 2019 after investigators spotted him at several Harris Teeter stores in Virginia, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit supporting criminal charges.
But the alleged fraud scheme began to unravel as early as May 2018, when three co-conspirators — Yariel Monsibaez Ruiz, Ariel Mora Quijada and Denis Monsibaez Diaz — were arrested at a Harris Teeter in Mooresville, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte, after prosecutors said they were caught trying to use a cloned credit card.
All three pleaded guilty in state court to identity theft and obtaining property by false pretenses.
The arrest was part of a larger conspiracy involving credit card skimmers found at gas stations in eastern Virginia. According to the affidavit, multiple people reported their credit card information had been stolen to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office in April 2018… Miami Herald