A Studio City man was convicted for stealing information from 1,400 credit cards at Valley region gas stations, according to the Justice Department.
Koren Robert Kechedzian, 24, of Studio City, was convicted March 11 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft. Kechedzian had two USB flash drives with the stolen card information.
Investigators in the case recovered from Kechedzian’s home an illegal skimming device designed to be installed in gas station pumps to steal credit card data. Bank records established that the stolen credit cards numbers on the flash drives came from Chevron gas stations in Palmdale and Moorpark.
The investigation in this case was conducted by special agents with the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service.
“The incidence of skimming, both here in Los Angeles and nationwide, has reached epidemic proportions and consumers need to very vigilant about any suspicious or unauthorized activity on their accounts,” Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles, said in a statement. “These types of crimes not only result in major losses for financial institutions and merchants, but can cause a major disruption in consumers’ personal finances.”
Kechedzian is scheduled for sentencing June 27. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each of the two counts credit card fraud counts. The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory consecutive two-year prison term.