Huntington Beach

13 charged in credit card-skimming ring

THIRTEEN people have been arrested and/or indicted in connection with a credit card “skimming” operation centered on a Huntington Beach restaurant.

An unnamed Huntington Beach restaurant was “ground zero” for a credit-card skimming operation, which resulted in the indictment and/or arrest this week of 13 people. According to the United States Attorney’s office, the operation compromised over 500 credit cards and caused the loss of over $500,000.

The HBPD and other agencies – including the FBI and Secret Service – took part in the arrests of the suspects, most of who are said by authorities to be members of street gangs in the La Mirada-Norwalk area. They have been charged in federal court with bank fraud and other offenses.

Many, but not all of the cards affected, were from that Huntington Beach eatery. The “skimming” takes place when a credit card presented for payment is passed through an electronic device which collects information from the card, which is then transferred onto counterfeit cards. Those bogus cards were then allegedly used to make purchases at Nordstroms, Bloomingdale’s, Toys R Us and sporting good stores, among others.

Still at large is Lloyd Luis Leyh, 43, of Huntington Beach. He was sentenced to serve 13 years in state prison in an attempted murder case.

Each of the suspects is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, a charge that carries a minimum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. Most of the defendants are also charged with other counts of credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Eleven defendants pleaded not guilty on Tuesday and have been ordered to stand trial on July 18.

The name of the restaurant is not being released.

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