Man on Trial in Debit Card Skimming Scheme

Prosecutors say suspect put devices in gas pumps

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Aleksandre Goukasian is accused of an elaborate plot to steal the identities of countless North Texans through skimming devices at gas pumps. He's already pleaded guilty to federal charges. (Published Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012)

    A man accused of breaking into gas pumps from California to North Texas to install devices that stole debit card information is on trial in Tarrant County.

    Aleksandr Goukasian faces state felony identity theft charges. He pleaded guilty last year in a deal with federal prosecutors to a charge of using an unauthorized access device.

    Prosecutors say Goukasian installed skimming devices that capture account information every time a card is swiped.

    Tarrant County prosecutors put more than a dozen of those skimming devices in to evidence in court Wednesday. Each one had a unique marking that can be traced back to Goukasian, prosecutors said.

    In 2011, Euless police Detective John Haecker told NBC 5 that authorities believed Goukasian used the stolen account information to steal money from countless North Texans.

    "It was a large amount of money," he said. "I don't even know what ballpark it would be in. It's hundreds of thousands of dollars."

    Security experts say it's easy for identity thieves to find new victims because so many people exclusively use their credit and debit cards.

    "We're leaving a digital trail everywhere, and the savvy identity thief can go from point A to point B to point C and collect different pieces of data on you and assemble an identity based on this information," said Mike Coffey, Imperative Information Group president.

    If convicted of the state charges, Goukasian faces up to life in prison. His trial is expected to last until next week.