A Corona man is behind bars for allegedly running a large identity theft and counterfeit credit card scheme taking place at gas stations in Jurupa Valley and Norco, officials confirmed today.
The investigation began when a female victim reported someone had used her credit card number to buy large amounts of gasoline from numerous gas stations.
Investigations led detectives to a home in the 600 block of Avondale Drive in Corona where they served a search warrant on Thursday Nov. 8, Sgt. Ralph Rico stated in a sheriff’s report.
During a search of the suspect’s residence, a computer, credit card encoding machine, blank magnetic cards and more than $30,000 in cash were seized.
Investigators learned the suspect had been using the computer and credit card encoding machine to encode magnetic-stripe cards with the victim’s stolen credit card information. This process enabled the suspect to buy gas with the counterfeited cards from gas stations in Jurupa Valley and Norco.
Gabriel H. Luna, 46, of Corona was arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on charges of identity theft, making counterfeit credit cards and grand theft.
Law enforcement officials say victims of identity theft and credit card fraud are often unaware of the theft until they receive a billing statement or overdraft notice in the mail.
“One way to prevent from becoming a victim of identity theft and credit card fraud is to never let your credit card leave your sight when paying at restaurants, shops or gas stations,” Sgt. Rico advised.
For more information regarding identity theft visit the Riverside County District Attorney’s Identity Theft Helpful Resources online at http://www.rivcoda.org/identitytheft.html.
Anyone with further information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Detective A. Brodie at the Jurupa Valley Station at 951-955-2600.
Stephanie D. Schulte is a writer/photographer with SWRNN. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.