Two California men charged in 2016 with identity theft after police suspected that they placed a credit card skimmer on a gas pump in Madison pleaded guilty to several charges Monday.

Wafig M. Jebarah, 49, of Los Angeles, and Arsen Piloyan, 47, of Van Nuys, California, each pleaded guilty to three counts of misappropriation of identity and would be sentenced to probation under a plea agreement reached between their lawyers and Assistant District Attorney Paul Humphrey.

Humphrey will also seek some time in jail as condition of probation when the two are sentenced at a later date. Eleven other counts against each of the men will be dismissed but can be considered when they are sentenced by Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara.

Jebarah and Piloyan were arrested in November after police suspected that they put a credit card skimmer on a gas pump at Capitol Petro, 699 S. Whitney Way, which was discovered by a city inspector on Oct. 25, 2016. 

In the hotel where Jebarah and Piloyan were staying, and in their rental vehicle, police found items that may have been used to install the skimmer. The two have not been charged with placing the skimmer in the pump. 

Data gleaned from the skimmed cards was used to create cards that were used at ATMs and for purchases, according to a criminal complaint. 

The arrests of the two men came as Madison saw a wave of about a dozen credit card skimmers discovered on gas pumps around the city.


Ed Treleven is the courts reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.