Two Brothers Sentenced To Prison For Access Device Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton has sentenced two brothers, Andy Teruel Colina (25, Miami) and Adrian Teruel (31, Orlando), to federal prison terms. Andy Teruel Colina was sentenced to 5 years for aggravated identity theft and for producing, using, or trafficking in one or more counterfeit access devices, possession of 15 or more counterfeit and unauthorized access devices, and possession of device-making equipment. The court also ordered him to pay $1,703.23 in restitution and a special assessment of $400. He had pleaded guilty on August 26, 2022. Adrian Teruel was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment for producing, using, or trafficking in one or more counterfeit access devices. His prison sentence will run consecutively to his previously imposed 12-month term of imprisonment for a violation of supervised release. Adrian Teruel had pleaded guilty on August 16, 2022.

According to court documents, an investigation by the U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General (GSA-OIG) identified fraudulent credit card transactions associated with a credit card assigned to a government-owned vehicle leased by GSA to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Lake Nona in Orlando. The account was determined to have been used for diesel fuel purchases exceeding the assigned vehicle’s tank capacity and also involved inconsistent odometer entries for the vehicle in connection with the fuel purchases. The fraudulent purchases were made between March 7 and 14, 2020, at multiple gas stations in and around Orlando. The Office of Veterans Affairs confirmed that the credit card was not lost nor had any of the diesel fuel purchases made during that time period been authorized by the VA. The total loss on the credit card was determined to be $1,703.23.

As a result of the unauthorized use of the VA credit card account number, a joint investigation was undertaken by the GSA-OIG and U.S. Secret Service (USSS). It was later determined that a tow truck that was observed being fueled by diesel fuel purchased using the VA credit card was registered to Andy Teruel Colina. Agents obtained video surveillance from the gas stations where the cloned VA credit card was used to make unauthorized diesel fuel purchases. These videos depicted Andy Teruel Colina using the cloned VA credit card to fuel the tow truck. Further investigation revealed that the tow truck made numerous stops at various gas stations and to an unlawful fuel yard. Adrian Teruel was also observed on gas station video cameras using two counterfeit and unauthorized access devices to purchase diesel fuel for the tow truck on April 11, 2020.

A federal search warrant was executed at Andy Teruel Colina’s residence where agents found amongst other things, a bag containing two camera circuit boards, gorilla glue, black electrical tape, multiple battery packs, and a screwdriver. These items are consistent with a pin-hole camera, which is commonly used to obtain personal information such as a pin code at a credit card payment terminal at a fuel pump. Additionally, agents recovered a credit card encoder, two fuel pump barrel keys, and numerous counterfeit and unauthorized access devices in gift card format. The agents also found numerous electronic devices that contained credit and or debit card account numbers and names associated with the rightful card holders. In total, Andy Teruel Colina was found to be in possession of over 2,400 individual’s names and their credit or debit card account numbers.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. General Services Administration – Office of Inspector General, Southeast and Caribbean Regional Investigations Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Terry B. Livanos.