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New charges filed in alleged ATM skimming spree

Prosecutors filed new charges last week against two York men who allegedly went on an ATM skimming spree in 2014.

One of the men – Jeshua Paonessa-Velez, 25 – was originally indicted in December 2015 for placing a card-skimming device on an ACNB Bank ATM in fall 2014. 

The devices fit over top of regular card-reading devices at places like ATMs and gas pumps, letting criminals copy customers’ magnetic stripes and PIN information.

Two other people have been charged over the course of the investigation. A superseding indictment filed in May 2016 noted additional skimming thefts involving Paonessa-Velez and an accomplice, Arturo Meireles- Candel, 34, of York. A second superseding indictment, filed Jan. 18 in U.S. Middle District court, notes even more thefts as well as a third accomplice, Luis Arocho, 39.

The new charges involve alleged skimming incidents at Members 1st Federal Credit Union in Hershey and Mechanicsburg, Santander Bank in Spring Grove and York, Centric Bank in Linglestown, Fulton Bank in Hershey and Jonestown Bank and Trust in Lebanon, according to court documents.

Arocho and Paonessa-Velez face charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Meireles-Candel pleaded guilty to earlier charges in exchange for no new charges being filed against him, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Arocho’s was arraigned Jan. 20, and Paonessa-Velez is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 31, the release states. 

Incidents of card skimming throughout the U.S. have grown tremendously in recent years, but the advent of stripe-free chip cards is expected to slow that climb.

Members 1st recommends customers report any ATMs with pinpads that seem loose to the touch or otherwise out of the ordinary to the owner of the ATM or local law enforcement.

Jennifer Wentz
Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com.

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