Four counts of Level 6 felony fraud and seven counts of Level 6 theft have been filed in Scott Circuit Court against a Florida man suspected of being part of a large credit card fraud ring operating in the Southern Indiana/Kentucky area was arrested in Scottsburg on Thursday, March 16.
Jose L. Rodriguez, 51, Miami, Fl., was arrested while pumping diesel fuel into a hidden tank on the vehicle he was driving. When placed in custody, Rodriguez apparently had identifications with addresses in Louisville, Jeffersonville and Florida.
Officers with the Scottsburg Police Department and Sheriff’s Department began working on the case around March 13 after several local merchants and residents reported the use of false credit cards at gas pumps and convenience stores. Cards used at the pumps reflected the information of other individuals.
As Detective/Sgt. Steven Herald began studying the cases, he noticed cards were being used at gas stations which have no operating surveillance cameras in this county and other communities.
The fraudulent cards were being used to buy diesel fuel. Det. Herald contacted local stations and asked them to instruct their personnel to be watchful for possible suspicious behavior involving such sales.
Thanks to an alert manager at the Casey’s gas station at the corner of West Lake and U.S. Highway 31 South in Scottsburg, a suspect was located just three days later.
When the manager reported that a man had made a maximum purchase of diesel fuel on one card and was continuing to pump diesel fuel using another card, Det. Herald and Patrolman Trevis Burr made a visit to the station and began talking to the man, later identified as Rodriguez. The numbers on the cards presented to them by Rodriguez did not match the numbers of accounts being charged for the fuel.
Rodriguez had a total of 27 prepaid cards in his possession. All had been “switched” to the billing information of 13 individuals. At least three of those victims are local residents. According to the case’s charging information, cards were “prepaid” in the amount of $750.
At his initial hearing in court on Tuesday, March 21, Rodriguez identified himself as a Cuban national. Judge Jason Mount told the man that if there is a criminal conviction in his case, he could be deported.
A jury trial was scheduled for June 6. Rodriguez said he planned to hire an attorney. Bail is set at $10,000 full cash.
Scottsburg police believe the incident is a part of a larger ring of credit card thefts. The U.S. Secret Service has been contacted regarding the investigation.
Anyone with recent fraudulent charges on their credit or debit cards that appear to be for gas or diesel purchases is urged to contact a local law enforcement agency. Multiple charges against Rodriguez in connection with credit card fraud are now pending.
Scottsburg residents may call the police department at 812-752-4462 or remain anonymous by calling 812-752-2333. The Sheriff’s Department can be reached by calling 812-752-8400 or its Tip Line at 812-752-7898. The Austin Police Department’s line is 812-794-4623. All tip lines are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.