CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- Two Florida men have each been sentenced in U.S. Court in Cedar Rapids to three years in prison, for using more than 50-stolen identities, to make fraudulent purchases all over Iowa in 2017, including some in the Des Moines area.
Thirty-six-year-old Pedro Alvarez-Rodriguez, and 27-year-old Dunieski Santana-Moreno admitted they drove across Iowa and used fake credit cards to buy gift cards and re-load cards at Wal-Mart stores.
Authorities say they went to Wal-mart stores in 16-Iowa counties in four days last year.
Locally, they went to the Wal-Mart stores in Grimes and Altoona. A third co-conspirator, Liliany de Armas Mena, is awaiting sentencing.
Authorities say the their scheme was designed to evade detection by keeping individual transactions under $100, moving across county borders to stay ahead of authorities, and using account numbers “skimmed” within the state of Iowa.
The trio went to Wal-Mart stores in the following locations: West Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Grimes, Altoona, Ames, Boone, Denison, Sioux City, Le Mars, Sioux Center, Spencer, Spirit Lake, Mason City, Cedar Falls and Waverly.
Alvarez Rodriguez had previously been convicted in 2015 of attempted robbery in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, after another incident at a Wal-Mart involving counterfeit cards and stolen account numbers. Santana Moreno had previously been convicted in 2015 of financial transaction-card theft in Sumter County, South Carolina.
Both defendants were ordered to make $5,655.08 in restitution to victims. Each must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after they compete their prison terms.
Liliany de Armas Mena, who previously pleaded guilty to the same offenses, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30.
During sentencing for Alvarez Rodriguez and Santana Moreno, Chief Judge Leonard Strand commented that the defendants were parasites motivated by greed, who made their livings off theft and stealing others’ hard-earned money. Both men are being held in federal custody until they can be transported to a federal prison.