Convict to plead guilty to SoCal credit card ‘skimming’ scheme


LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A Norwalk man serving 13 years in state prison for a gang-related killing is set to plead guilty today to his role in a fraud ring that used credit card information stolen from customers at restaurants to create counterfeit cards.

Rudy Leo Aguilar, who goes by the street names “Fats” and “Dreamer,” is expected to plead in Los Angeles federal court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Aguilar, 34, was among 13 people — most of them linked to La Mirada- and Norwalk-based street gangs — charged last year in the scheme. Aguilar was also named in a separate indictment that charges him with distributing nearly two pounds of methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Russell Jay “Big Dog” Ogden, along with his wife, ran the scheme that used electronic devices to collect information from victims’ credit cards, federal prosecutors allege.

Members of the scheme allegedly encoded the stolen information on counterfeit credit cards and used the phony cards to purchase big-ticket items that were later sold for a profit. The investigation has determined that many of the credit cards in the case were skimmed at a restaurant in Huntington Beach, prosecutors said.

In total, the conspiracy compromised more than 500 credit cards and caused various financial institutions to suffer losses of more than $500,000 after the cards were used across Southern California at department stores such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, sporting goods stores and Toys R Us, according to the bank fraud indictment.

The federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a possible maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, prosecutors noted.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Aguilar was previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter in a gang-related incident and was sentenced to 13 years in state prison.


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