ST. GEORGE — A Nevada man is in jail after an arrest on a warrant connected to a fraud case. The man’s arrest triggered an investigation into an unrelated fraud scheme involving the resale of fuel allegedly purchased with stolen bank card information.
On Tuesday, St. George Police Officers arrested Yeneskey Llanes-Diaz, 34, of Las Vegas, at a gas station in St. George on a $20,000 warrant issued out of 5th District Court in November of last year.
When officers approached the suspect at the gas staion, Diaz was in the process of filling an auxiliary tank of his vehicle with a large amount of fuel, a transaction that made the officers suspicious, as the incident was similar to a number of open fraud cases that were under investigation involving the purchase of fuel for resale, according to charging documents filed with the courts.
The scheme involved financial card data that was stolen and then re-encoded on the magnetic strip of another bank card as a means to conceal the legitimate account holder’s information, the report states. In this particular scheme, the fraudulent card is used to purchase large amounts of fuel which is placed in modified auxiliary tanks in or on the vehicle.
The fuel is then transported out of state where it is re-sold.
Detectives responded to the gas station and obtained the transaction receipts for the fuel purchased by the suspect just prior to his arrest.
According to the report, the receipts showed four transactions just under $100 each that were made using two different card numbers totaling $399. Officers obtained the card numbers that were provided to the bank where the cards were supposedly issued, which is when detectives learned the cards were fraudulent and had not been authorized by the banking customers.
Officers on scene also found a second card in the vehicle that had a magnetic strip that was re-encoded with stolen account information, leading authorities to believe the suspect “unlawfully acquired” two different financial transaction card numbers that had been used to buy nearly $400 in fuel.
Diaz was later charged with one count of unlawful acquisition of a financial card and two counts of obtaining encoded information on a financial card, each a third-degree felony, as well as one misdemeanor count of knowingly using false financial transaction card for goods/services.
The warrant issued in November involved similar activity after the suspect caught the attention of police officers in Springdale investigating a number of calls from area businesses reporting possible fraud, court records state.
Through the course of the investigation, officers collected documentation revealing that seven different bank cards were being used at several retailers by one suspect between June and July of last year, all of which showed a similar signature “that resembled an illegible scribble,” the officer noted in the report.
As the investigation ensued, surveillance footage was collected that showed a man using two of the credit cards on two separate occasions in the Springdale area. Using driver’s license records, contacts with surrounding law enforcement agencies and social media profiles, police say the suspect was positively identified as Diaz. According to authorities, more than $4,600 in purchases were made at local businesses using fraudulent financial cards.
Diaz was later charged with second-degree felony theft, as well as two third-degree felony counts of knowingly using false financial transaction card for goods/services. He was arrested and then released as his case progressed through the courts, but when he failed to appear for a scheduled hearing in November, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Diaz remains in custody on $36,180 bail and is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 5th District Court Friday.
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