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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2010
CONTACT: Dee Ann Miller, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 519-2898

DEP Agents Bust Organized Fuel Fraud Ring

~Suspects arrested in connection with fuel fraud~

DUVAL COUNTY – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Division of Law Enforcement, along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the United States Secret Service, today arrested five members of a fuel fraud ring for organized fraud and the illegal acquisition of diesel fuel. Uber Hernandez Torres, 34, Esteban Juvencio Hernandez, 58, Bernabe Lino Diaz-Yera, 52, Yovanis Yin-Garcia, 23, and Mayilin Perez, 34, were each booked at the Duval County Jail on multiple felony charges.

The suspects are charged as follows:

Uber Hernandez Torres:

  • one count of bank fraud, a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000;
  • one count of fraudulent use of credit cards, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000; and
  • one count of fraudulent use of personal identification information, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Esteban Juvencio Hernandez, Barnabe Lino Diaz-Yera and Yovanis Yin-Garcia:

  • one count each of fraudulent use of credit cards, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000;
  • one count each of organized fraud, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000; and
  • one count each of fraudulent use of personal identification information, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Mayilin Perez:

  • one count of traffic in counterfeit credit cards, a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000; and
  • one count of fraudulent use of personal identification information, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

“The taking of fuel with the use of fraudulent credit cards or by pump manipulation is a crime. The victims’ losses from these transactions are transferred to banks, oil companies, and privately owned fuel stations, eventually reaching the public in the form of increased costs at the pump,” said DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director Henry Barnet. “In addition, the transfer of fuel may have caused fuel spills, which could subsequently result in groundwater and soil contamination. DEP regulatory inspectors will be performing assessments at these sites in the near future.”

The two-year investigation began when Hess Corporation reported massive losses at their Jacksonville area fuel stations of diesel purchased with fraudulent credit cards, and provided a video of the suspect at the pump. Agents identified the suspect as Hernandez Torres of Jacksonville and began surveillance operations to track his activities. Teaming up with agents from FDLE and detectives from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Environmental Crimes Unit, they quickly discovered there were numerous associates involved in the scheme, and identified a clandestine fuel storage site used by the group. The suspects used heavy duty pickup trucks equipped with large, illegal fuel tanks concealed in the truck bed, and actual bank and credit cards issued to the driver encoded with fraudulently obtained credit card numbers. Diesel was sold at a reduced price to truck drivers invited to the storage site, or transferred to waiting trucks at rendezvous points at businesses or vacant lots. The ring impacted victims’ identities from around the world, and repeatedly hit northeast Florida gas stations in Duval, Clay, Baker, Nassau, and Bradford Counties, and stations in southeast Georgia. The encoded credit cards were also used to purchase hundreds of Walmart and American Express gift cards with an average value of $100. More arrests will follow.

DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for statewide environmental resource law enforcement, as well as providing law enforcement services to Florida’s state parks and greenways and trails. Division personnel from the three operational bureaus patrol state lands; investigate environmental resource crimes; and respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, hazardous material incidents and oil spills that threaten the environment.

To report an environmental crime, wireless customers can dial #DEP. Callers can also report environmental crimes to the State Warning Point by calling (877) 2-SAVE-FL (1.877.272.8335). General environmental inquiries should be directed to DEP district offices during normal business hours. For more information about DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/law.

fuel pump

"The taking of fuel with the use of fraudulent credit cards or by pump manipulation is a crime. The victims’ losses from these transactions are transferred to banks, oil companies, and privately owned fuel stations, eventually reaching the public in the form of increased costs at the pump."

Henry Barnet
DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director

10–101

Last updated: June 08, 2010

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