Las Vegas man arrested for skimming credit cards


A Las Vegas man is facing federal charges after being arrested Sunday in connection with the creation and use of counterfeit credit and debit cards from information stolen from gas pumps, announced Daniel Bogden, U.S. Attorney General for Nevada.

Zalalem Berhe, 41, is charged with five counts of bank fraud, possession of 15 or more counterfeited credit, debit or gift cards, possession of a counterfeiting device and aggravated identity theft, the attorney general said.

During two traffic stops in Las Vegas in February and May, police officers found skimming devices used to steal magnetic information from credit and debit cards, laptop computers and software to make the counterfeit cards, and 18 cards, the attorney general said.

From April 2009 to May 2010, Behre and others who have not been identified, installed skimming devices on gas pumps in Las Vegas, Florida and Arizona, the attorney general said. Behre and others skimmed about 13,800 credit and debit card account numbers and used the numbers to steal about $582,000 from more than 10 financial institutions, the attorney general said.

Berhe is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday in Las Vegas.

If convicted, Berhe faces 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each bank fraud count, up to 20 years and $250 fine for each of the counterfeit cards, and a minimum of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge.

The Secret Service, Southwestern Identity Theft and Fraud Task Force and the Electronic Crimes Task Force are investigating.

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