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Second indictment for two York men in bank skimming device case

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HARRISBURG, Pa. –  Jeshua Paonessa-Velez, 25, and Luis E. Arochom 39, both of York, were indicted on January 18, by a federal grand jury on a second superseding indictment charging them with bank fraud and identity theft.

The indictment was unsealed following Arochom’s arrest and arraignment on Friday, January 20, before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson. Arocho was ordered detained. Paonessa-Velez’s arraignment is tentatively scheduled for January 31.

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the first superseding indictment in May 2015, also brought charges against Arturo Meireles-Candel, 34, of York. That superseding indictment charged that Paoness-Velez and Meirels-Candel worked together and devised a scheme to obtain money from Adams County National Bank and Jersey Shore State Bank by placing “skimming” devices on the banks’ ATMs, capturing identification information of the bank customers using those ATMs, and either loading that information onto access devices and making purchases with those access devices, or making direct cash withdrawals out of customer accounts.

The superseding indictment also charged both Paonessa-Velez and Meireles-Candel with sixteen counts of aggravated identity theft for stealing means of identification of sixteen of the banks’ customers. Meireles-Candel pleaded guilty to charges in the Superseding Indictment in exchange for no new charges being filed against him.

The new charges brought Tuesday by the grand jury in a second superseding indictment add additional instances of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft discovered by investigators and also an additional alleged participant in the scheme. The new charges include allegations of fraudulent activity at Member’s First 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.

The Adams County National Bank and the retail establishments where the defendants allegedly made the purchases using the stolen identities cooperated in the investigation. The bank reimbursed all of the affected customers for the losses to their accounts.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Southwestern Regional Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, Derry Township Police Department, and Lower Paxton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Clancy is prosecuting the case.

The maximum penalty under federal law for the bank fraud offense is 30 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The penalty for aggravated identity theft is 2 years of imprisonment consecutive to any sentence imposed for the underlying bank fraud offense.