WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - Six people were charged in stealing fuel and installing credit card skimmers across Polk County, officials announced Wednesday morning.
A joint investigation between the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Law Enforcement, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Attorney General’s Office, began in December 2017. Officials announced the arrests of 26-year-old Yosel Menendez Corrales, 34-year-old Victor Alvarez Cano, 49-year-old Diosdado Gonzalez Morejon, 41-year-old Marie Carmen Serrano Abril, and 41-year-old Frank Perez. They are still searching for 55-year old Carlos Gonzalez, who is known to frequent the Haines City and Miami areas.
During a press conference, Judd said the group conducted an elaborate plan to use the skimmers to steal credit card information and transfer it to fraudulent cards in order to steal large amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel. The fuel was pumped into vehicles with altered fuel tanks, called large bladders, to carry the large quantities of fuel.
The fuel was transported to "dump sites," officials say, loaded into storage tanks, and resold at a discounted price.
The investigation launched after Corrales and Cano were seen tinkering with a fuel pump's keypad at the Sunoco Fuel Station in Polk City.
"Our detectives, with the assistance of Commissioner Adam Putnam's investigators and Attorney General Pam Bondi's state wide prosecutors, are sending a strong message, 'If you commit organized crime, we will charge you with racketeering, and you will face a first degree felony that calls for a 30-year sentence. We are serious. Quit stealing people's stuff."