Cuban man faces judge in gas-pump skimming scheme

FBI: Suspect wanted out of Virginia

McALLEN — A Cuban man wanted by the FBI in connection with a series of schemes involving credit card skimmers at gas pumps will remain detained after a hearing Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker remanded Osvaldo Bello Villanueva into the custody of the U.S. Marshals after a hearing Monday related to charges he accessed credit card information from unsuspecting victims using a “skimming” device at a gasoline station in Virginia.

According to the FBI, Villanueva was wanted in connection with a federal warrant issued June 10 out of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, for his alleged role.

A federal indictment out of the same court was handed down July 25, on a conspiracy to commit access device fraud charge, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

Villanueva, 43, of Miami, was last arrested in March 2017 in Falls Church, Virginia prior to being placed in federal custody. He was arrested along with two other men on similar charges of using skimmers to obtain customers’ credit card information, published accounts show.

Villanueva has been in custody since at least Sept. 24, but had yet to make his formal appearance before the magistrate as he had requested to have his attorney, Carlos M. Fleites, who is based in Florida, appear on his behalf, records show.

During the morning hearing Monday, which was scheduled as an identity and detention hearing, Villanueva, appearing with a shaved head, through his attorney, agreed to not contend the identity hearing, and waved the reading of the indictment against him.

But before the subsequent hearing, Fleites said it was determined Villanueva had an immigration hold and thus a detention hearing was not needed.

Villanueva will remain in custody and be transferred to Eastern District of Virginia where the case originated.

lzazueta@themonitor.com