Crime

Inside a Hialeah 'credit card lab': Rolexes, gold Cuban bracelets and 50,000 blank cards

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

What can you buy if you run a 1,000-cards-per-day "credit card lab" out of a one-bedroom Hialeah apartment for a year?

A $25,695 men's Cuban link 10-karat gold bracelet. A Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36mm with an aftermarket bezel (the ring holding the glass in place) of 29 diamonds worth $14,750. A Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41mm Rolesor worth $11,650. A 14-karat gold 24-inch Cuban link chain worth $2,595 and a similar 18-inch chain worth $1,595. A Range Rover Sport.

But what Julio Gomez of Miami Gardens and Miami's Jaime Fernandez del Pino couldn't buy was their way out of trouble once Homeland Security-U.S. Secret Service investigators and Miami-Dade cops hit the apartment with search warrants.

Gomez, 51, got 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud; producing and trafficking in counterfeit access devices; and aggravated identity theft. Fernandez del Pino, who pleaded guilty to the same charges, will find out on June 29 how long he'll be in the prison system.

In the forfeiture phase, prosecutors seized the above jewelry, some $1,000 rings, four other Rolex watches, jewelry in the $100 to $500 range, and around $41,000 cash in forfeiture. All of it counted as goods gained with fraudulently acquired money.

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Each man's court file says cops found a deluxe credit card fraud set when they entered 1095 W. 77th St., apartment No. 213: "thousands of counterfeit credit cards, over 50,000 blank credit card plastics, several credit card printers, a magnetic strip encoder, modified gasoline pump skimmer services, computers and electronic media storage devices such as USB flash drives.

"A preliminary search of three USB flash drives revealed that they contained various text files created between May and June of 2017 which contained over 50 stolen credit card account numbers..."

The foremen of this financial fraud factory used the e-mail account Moralesj344@yahoo.com to take orders for counterfeit credit cards and traffic in stolen credit card account numbers.

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