Two more men are sentenced in a gas station card-skimming case that’s been followed for several years in the Southern Tier.

Federal officials say 35-year-old Hugo Hernandez of Miami Lakes, Florida and 38-year-old Marlon Palacios of Cape Coral, Florida are the latest to get prison time for being part of an operation attaching skimming devices to steal gas station customer information in Broome, Albany and Montgomery Counties and elsewhere.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The case began to unfold over three years ago as investigators began looking into incidents where devices had been slipped onto gas pumps that could gather the customer’s credit information and then was being used to buy gift cards and obtain money orders and cash on the unsuspecting motorists’ credit accounts.

Hernandez was sentenced July 20 to five years in federal prison for his roles in the access device fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Palacios was sentenced to four months in jail for his part and committing identity theft.

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Hernandez admitted he worked with others in skimming information at Broome gas stations and other locations starting back in December of 2015 and getting at least 162 money orders worth $173,257 that he deposited into bank accounts he controlled.  In addition to prison, Hernandez is forfeiting that money he pilfered.

Palacios admitted as part of the skimming scheme, he emailed debit and credit card account information that had been gathered by members of the gang.  As part of his agreement, Palacios will forfeit $25,000.

Palacios was one of four suspects indicted in August, 2020 in the scheme while in October of 2019, three other Miami-area residents had been charged.

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