Detectives with the Sacramento Sheriff's Department said two suspects recently arrested in an ATM skimming investigation are likely part of a larger organized crime group comprised of mainly Venezuelan nationals, who are coming to the United States to place the skimming devices on ATM machines. 

Arrested last week by the Sheriff’s Department Hi-Tech Task Force arrested were Luis Jose Ruiz-Gainza, 43, and Ricardo Gabriele-Plage, 36, of Venezuela.  They face charges for allegedly placing skimming devices on several bank ATM machines in the Sacramento region.

Booking photos courtesy Sacramento Sheriff's Department

Sheriff’s detectives were told by several people back in April of this year that they had been the victims of identity theft, and also had money withdrawn from their bank accounts. The investigation lead to the discovery of skimming devices at several bank ATM machines. A high definition camera was also placed above the key pad of the ATM underneath a cover or fascia, which recorded customers entering their PIN numbers. The fascia was usually painted a similar color as the ATM.  The reported thefts took place over a two to three day period in April.  Approximately 450 debit and credit cards were compromised, and approximately $20,000 were allegedly taken from the victims.

Photos courtesy of Sacramento Sheriff's Department

Detectives recommend customers sign up for activity notifications with their banks and credit cards so they can better track any unauthorized activity. They also suggest you contact your bank or credit union immediately if you feel there is any suspicious activity on your account, and then fill out an affidavit of fraud with the banking institution. You should also submit an online report to the Sacramento Sheriff's Department, so it can be routed to detectives. You can make an online report by click here.