Orlando Secret Service agent who helped make gas price manipulators illegal retires

Roger Fuentes helped with News 6 gas price manipulator investigation

ORLANDO, Fla. – Roger Fuentes is going out on top.

The senior special agent in the Orlando field office for the U.S. Secret Service is retiring just before a law he helped get signed goes into effect.

Fuentes spent his last few days on the job placing items in boxes and closing out a few lingering cases.

“So this was turned over to us by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. It’s an ATM skimmer,” said Fuentes, holding a yellow envelope sealed with red evidence tape.

It’s a scene straight out of a crime drama. And it’s a part of the job he didn’t expect, but one he’s learned to cherish.

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“It’s a whole different world than what I thought it would be. Because if you ever see any kind of secret service movie or show, you see an agent running by the limo, the president’s limo,” Fuentes said. “OK, I did that. But they don’t tell you about all the criminal investigation work that they do. And that’s something you really don’t see. That’s what I really got interested in. That’s what kept me here for so long.”

Fuentes said 90% of his time is spent on economic crimes. He’s recovered millions of dollars from criminals and helped protect just as much.

One of those cases involved a device he had never seen before, one that thieves were putting in diesel fuel pumps to trick the machine into recording only a fraction of the fuel it was pumping. Criminals were able to pay pennies on the dollar when the “gas pump manipulator” was installed.

News 6 investigative reporter Mike Holfeld was also looking into the device.

“He deserves the Getting Results Award because he brought us a device that was being used to steal millions of dollars of diesel fuel and I just asked him, ‘Well, you mean this thing’s legal?’” Holfeld said.

Fuentes recalled telling Holfeld it wasn’t illegal because there was no law written about it... yet.

The two worked with legislators to create a law and make existing penalties a lot harsher. In fact, using gas price manipulators is now a level two felony.

“And the governor (Ron DeSantis) signed it into law a few weeks ago,” Fuentes said. “So it will take effect the day after I retire.”

Caroline O’Brien-Buster, the special agent in charge of the Orlando field office, said Fuentes will be missed.

“He’s an incredible investigator,” O’Brien-Buster said. “He really cares. This isn’t a job to him—this is about the community, the victims and not letting the bad guys win.”

Fuentes said the best part of the job was being able to help people out.

“The thing I’ll remember most is being able to recover a victim’s money, being able to get that old couple who got scammed out of $60,000, getting that money back for them. That’s probably some of the greatest stuff,” Fuentes said.

As he packed up the last of his belongings, Fuentes told us the things he’d treasure most can never be put in a box.

“On my last day, all the people I’ve worked with, people I’ve helped and people I’ve worked with, and a lot of the laughs we’ve shared. That’s what I want to remember when I leave,” he said.

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About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.