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Credit-card fraud victims who used Sierra Madre gas station reaches 230

January 5, 2011 |  8:54 am

The number of credit-fraud victims who patronized a Sierra Madre gas station that is under investigation has grown to 230, police said Wednesday.

Evg gas Police are seeking to question the owner of EVG Quality Gas located at 50 South Baldwin Ave., which closed over the Christmas holiday, said Chief Marilyn Diaz of the Sierra Madre Police Department.

Diaz said she expects the number of victims to grow as customers who bought gas at the station within the last six months check their credit card statements. Losses are already running in excess of $60,000.

Police say 75% of the victims are local residents who used credit cards at the station. Diaz said the fraud scheme does not involve any other stations in the city, and officers have checked for so-called credit-card skimmers on gas station pumps, which surreptitiously record users' credit card information. No skimmers were found.

The first victim reported an identity theft to police Dec. 27 after using her credit card at the station.

By Monday, Sierra Madre police had received more than 175 fraud reports linked to EVG. About 75% of the cases involved a single fraudulent transaction at the station known for selling gas at cheaper prices than more widely recognized brands.

Most of the multiple transaction cases involved ATM and retail transactions. Six cases involved six transactions each and one involved nine transactions.

The highest loss from an individual case was $3,782.


Massive credit-card fraud investigated at Sierra Madre gas station

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Crime scene tape at EVG gas in Sierra Madre. Credit: Richard Winton / Los Angeles Times