Five Rochester men were arrested Friday and charged with operating a credit card fraud scheme. Under arrest are Kyle Bertrand, Paul Kozlyuk, Richard Lipke, Michael Gerone, and Herbert Street.

All five are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and trafficking in unauthorized access devices. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.  

According to investigators, between January 2015 and July 2015, the defendants made fraudulent and unauthorized credit card purchases over the phone at various stores in the Rochester area. The purchases were made at stores such as All County Lawn, Tractor, and Trailer, Home Depot, Victor Power Equipment, Charlotte Appliance, Admar Construction Equipment, Brodner Equipment, Del Monte Spa, Wehner Mower, Inc. Bentley Brothers Tractor Equipment Supplier, GBG Inc., Little Power Shop, Diesel Power Products, and Best Tile. 

Attorneys say the defendants randomly called people on the phone and stated that their cell phone or cable would be shut off unless they provided credit card information over the phone to settle delinquent bills. The defendants then allegedly used the stolen credit card information to make the purchases.
Hochul stated, “Consumers should know common sense safety measures which can be taken. Upon receiving a call that a bill is allegedly owed, obtain the telephone number and name of the caller. Next, look up or research for yourself whether you owe the bill, and further, the customer service information for that creditor.  Never be rushed, and threats to terminate service are often red flags for a fraudulent scheme.”