TAMPA — A woman who pleaded guilty last year to her role in a Tampa-based credit card fraud ring was sentenced Thursday to five years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge James Moody also ordered Norma Cabezas-Hernandez to forfeit her share of the proceeds from her criminal activities, which totaled more than $655,000.
Cabezas-Hernandez, 43, was accused last year of taking part in a criminal conspiracy that involved the use of credit card skimming devices, which were placed on card readers and point-of-sale terminals at businesses throughout the Tampa area, including at the International Mall. The devices recorded credit card numbers, which were later downloaded and re-encoded on gift cards to create counterfeit credit cards, according to federal court records. The group then used the fraudulent cards to make numerous retail purchases.
Cabezas-Hernandez's brother, Michel Lermos-Hernandez, is accused of masterminding the scheme, working with several accused co-conspirators.
All told, federal agents attributed to the group the loss of $655,568 from 14 different financial institutions and more than 1,000 private citizens.
Lermos-Hernandez remains a federal fugitive.