CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa | Three Cuban nationals have pleaded guilty to using stolen identities and debit card numbers to purchase items in a number of Wal-Mart stores, including four in Northwest Iowa.
Dunieski Santana Moreno, 26, of Miami, and Liliany de Armas Mena, 21, of Louisville, Kentucky, both pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids to single counts of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Pedro Alvarez Rodriguez, 36, of Miami, pleaded guilty to the same charges on Sept. 21. All three are Cuban citizens.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the three men admitted in plea agreements that in January and February they stole account information from at least 35 accounts by using "skimming" devices to obtain the victims' numbers without their knowledge. The stolen account numbers then were encoded onto counterfeit magnetic strip cards that had the appearance of credit cards.
The men used the cards at Wal-Mart self-checkout registers at stores in several Iowa cities, including Le Mars, Sioux Center, Spirit Lake and Spencer.