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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Breaking the state's laws is a losing proposition. Read about those who found that out the hard way.

January 2020

Jan. 30

Florencio Andrade Hernandez, 48, and Marco Antonio Nunez Martinez, 40, both of Brownsville, and Pablo Luis Narvaez Alvarez, 67, of San Benito were arrested for allegedly buying and using gasoline diverted by a truck driver to a Brownsville trucking company site last summer and fall.

On five occasions in August, September and October, Jose Cipriano Guerrero Sanchez, 44, a Mexican national, allegedly off-loaded thousands of gallons of gas from trucks belonging to a Mexican cargo firm into drums at a freight yard, instead of delivering them to the purchaser in Mexico. The practice, known as “short loading,” circumvents state law that exempts exported gasoline from tax.

Hernandez is accused of buying six drums containing approximately 90 gallons of gas from Alvarez for $25 apiece. Martinez allegedly bought one drum from Alvarez, who was acquiring the gas from Sanchez.

Hernandez and Martinez each are charged with motor fuel tax evasion for failing to pay the required backup taxes. Martinez and Alvarez, who allegedly drove vehicles containing bulk loads of the untaxed gas on public roadways, also are charged with transporting motor fuel without proper shipping documents. In addition, Alvarez is charged with accepting motor fuel delivered without receiving a shipping document.

All the offenses are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Sanchez, who was arrested in mid-December at a border crossing in Pharr, is charged with five counts of motor fuel distribution without paying taxes owed, also a second-degree felony. In addition, he is charged with five counts of motor fuel transportation using a false manifest, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

CID assisted the Texas Department of Public Safety CID in the investigation of the cases, which are pending prosecution in Cameron County.

Jan. 29

Jorge Hernandez-Guerra, 32, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain large quantities of diesel fuel worth more than $100 from a Houston gas station.

Local police observed the suspect pumping diesel into a pickup truck. As they approached him, he threw several apparently damaged cards into a trash can, according to reports. Officers said they confiscated one card in his possession. They allege that he made five unauthorized transactions with “cloned” gift cards.

Reports show that the vehicle had been outfitted to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel. Investigators discovered an auxiliary tank concealed in and spanning the entire depth and length of the truck bed.

Hernandez-Guerra is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Local authorities also have charged him with fraudulent use/possession of credit/debit cards, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years.

CID assisted the Houston Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Harris County.

Jan. 28

Andy Nunez-Leon, 34, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain more than 37 gallons of diesel fuel worth $99 from a Katy gas station.

Local police reportedly observed the suspect pumping diesel into a pickup truck. They claim to have confiscated 22 “cloned” credit cards in his possession.

Reports show that the vehicle had been outfitted to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel. Investigators discovered an auxiliary tank concealed in and spanning the entire length of the suspect’s flatbed truck.

Nunez-Leon is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Local authorities also have charged him with credit card abuse, a felony punishable by confinement in state jail for six months up to two years.

CID assisted the Katy Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Harris County.

Jan. 27

Justin Michael Strait, 32, of Galveston pleaded no contest in a Galveston County court-at-law to a cigars and tobacco products tax violation last spring. He received deferred adjudication (no final conviction), two years’ probation and a $1,000 fine; he also was ordered to pay other costs and perform 24 hours of community service.

The offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both.

Strait originally was charged with selling tobacco without a permit and not paying tobacco taxes, also a Class A misdemeanor. He also was indicted for failure to produce records of tobacco sales during an inspection, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Those charges were dismissed in the plea agreement.

In April 2019, Strait ignored verbal and written demands from investigators who inspected his bar, Brew’s Brothers, in Galveston. They seized tobacco products displayed for sale there because its state permit had expired.

Jan. 22

Eduardo Castro Figueredo, 30, of Spring was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain more than 77 gallons of diesel fuel worth almost $200 from a Katy supermarket.

An employee reportedly observed one of two suspicious transactions at the store’s fueling station and contacted local authorities. The suspect reportedly was seen pumping diesel directly into an auxiliary “bladder” later found to be concealed in the bed of his pickup truck.

During a subsequent traffic stop, police reportedly confiscated 12 “cloned” credit and debit cards from the suspect. They determined that the vehicle had been modified to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel.

Figueredo is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest, a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000, as well as unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., the truck), a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

In addition, local authorities have charged him with fraudulent use/possession of between 10 and 50 credit/debit cards, also a second-degree felony.

CID assisted the Katy Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Fort Bend County.

Roberto Karel Merino Lisabet, 32, of Austin was indicted in November for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain 36 gallons of diesel fuel worth $100 from a chain convenience store and driving the vehicle containing it on a public roadway in the Austin area last spring.

For failing to pay the backup tax, Lisabet is charged with motor fuel tax evasion. He also is charged with transporting motor fuel without proper shipping documents. Each offense is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The case is pending prosecution in Travis County.

Jan. 21

Rolando Rosabal Dominguez, 44, of San Antonio was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain almost 100 gallons of diesel fuel worth $250 and driving the vehicle containing it on a public roadway in the San Antonio area.

While conducting surveillance, officers reportedly observed the suspect filling his pickup truck with diesel three times in less than an hour at three different convenience stores in Bexar County. During a subsequent traffic stop in Leon Valley, investigators discovered an auxiliary tank concealed in the bed of the suspect’s pickup truck containing the diesel fuel, reports show.

They also reported confiscating nine “cloned” debit and credit cards. The suspect claimed to have purchased the diesel with a different card.

For failing to pay the backup tax, Dominguez is charged with motor fuel tax evasion. He also is charged with transporting motor fuel without proper shipping documents. Each offense is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

CID participated in a task force including the Texas Department of Public Safety, San Antonio Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Bexar County.

Orlando Goulet-Nazario, 31, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded charge card to fraudulently obtain almost 24 gallons of diesel fuel worth almost $61 from a Katy supermarket.

Local police reportedly witnessed the suspect at the store’s fueling station use a “cloned” card to obtain diesel fuel and pump it directly into an auxiliary tank concealed in the bed of his pickup truck. Reports show that the vehicle had been outfitted to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel.

For failing to pay the backup tax, Goulet-Nazario is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He also is charged with unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., the truck), a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

In addition, local authorities have charged him with fraudulent use/possession of 10 or more credit/debit cards, also a second-degree felony.

CID assisted the Katy Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Fort Bend County.

Goulet-Nazario already is under indictment for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain more than 90 gallons of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Baytown. Local police confiscated 56 “cloned” cards from the defendant and an accomplice last October.

He is charged with possessing more than 50 counterfeit credit cards, a first-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for five to 99 years or life and a fine of up to $10,000, along with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license, a third-degree felony.

Those cases are pending prosecution in Harris County.

Jan. 17

Angel Moya, 57, of Cypress and Cue Isabel Hernandez, 33, of Houston were arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded charge card to fraudulently obtain more than 78 gallons of diesel fuel worth $200 from a Katy supermarket.

A cashier reportedly witnessed Moya at the store’s fueling station use a “cloned” card to obtain diesel fuel and pump it directly into an auxiliary tank concealed in the bed of a pickup truck driven by Hernandez. Upon observing two such transactions, the employee contacted local police with a description of the driver, including pink hair.

During a subsequent traffic stop, officers determined that the vehicle had been outfitted to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel. It reportedly included a hose, pump, nozzle and a 100-gallon “bladder” concealed beneath a tool box mounted in the bed of the truck.

For failing to pay the backup tax, Moya is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Hernandez is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest, a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000, as well as unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., the truck), a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

In addition, local authorities have charged both suspects with fraudulent use/possession of between five and 10 items of identifying information, also a third-degree felony.

CID assisted the Katy Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Fort Bend County.

Carlos Lazar Hernandez Cuesta, 34, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded charge card to fraudulently obtain 39 gallons of diesel fuel worth almost $100 from a Katy supermarket.

Local police reportedly witnessed the suspect at the store’s fueling station use a “cloned” card to obtain diesel fuel and pump it directly into an auxiliary “bladder” concealed in the bed of his pickup truck. They discovered that the vehicle had been outfitted to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel, reports show.

For failing to pay the backup tax, Cuesta is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He also is charged with unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., the truck), a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

In addition, local authorities have charged him with fraudulent use/possession of 5-10 credit/debit cards, also a third-degree felony.

CID assisted the Katy Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Fort Bend County.

Pedro Rojero Jr., 42, of Fabens was indicted for allegedly transporting 228 gallons of dyed diesel fuel in two pickup trucks in the summer of 2017.

He allegedly filled external fuel tanks on the vehicles with diesel obtained from an oil company storage facility using his and another's agricultural user permits. Evidence shows that the defendant illegally acquired more than 200,000 gallons of untaxed fuel and took it into Mexico in 2016-17.

Rojero is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping document, a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

In Texas, non-taxable diesel is dyed red to distinguish it from taxable diesel. Red dyed diesel is authorized almost exclusively for off-road, agricultural use by permit-holders only.

The case is pending prosecution in El Paso County.

Jan. 14

Yoel Mora, 36, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded charge card to fraudulently obtain sizable amounts of diesel fuel from a Houston convenience store.

During surveillance, local police reportedly witnessed the suspect pumping diesel directly into an auxiliary “bladder” concealed in the bed of his pickup truck. Upon apprehension, they confiscated several “cloned” cards and discovered that the vehicle had been outfitted with pumps and nozzles to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel, reports show.

Mora is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping document, a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition, local authorities have charged him with fraudulent use/possession of 5-10 credit/debit cards, also a third-degree felony.

CID assisted the Houston Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Harris County.

Jan. 13

William Froelim Euceda, 46, of Harlingen paid more than $10,000 in restitution in exchange for prosecutors’ dropping charges alleging he offered for sale tobacco products on which he owed several hundred dollars in state taxes in 2018.

The sum represents back taxes on tobacco that had gone unpaid during the four years preceding this offense. A Cameron County district judge dismissed the case under a pre-trial diversion initiative.

Euceda had been charged with possessing tobacco products having more than $50 in taxes due. The offense is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The case arose from inspections of Euceda’s three convenience stores in Harlingen and San Benito in October 2018. Investigators reportedly found tobacco wrapping papers ordered on line from an out-of-state wholesale distributor that does not have a Texas tobacco tax permit. A records analysis determined that other tobacco products also had been purchased through the internet without paying Texas taxes.

Jan. 10

Mario Vela Rodriguez, 52, of Hockley was indicted on three counts of allegedly falsifying and concealing sales tax records.

Avendano, who ran a now-defunct diesel engine repair business in Waller, is accused of filing a yearly report in June 2019 that misstated total sales and understated taxable sales and taxes due (i.e., zero) for the 2017 tax year. Each offense is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

CID assisted the Waller Police Department in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Waller County.

Jan. 8

Pedro Ruiz Crespo, 47; Cruz Plasencia, 45; and Jorge Felix Lopez, 34, all of Houston were arrested for allegedly participating in a scheme to unlawfully obtain and sell diesel fuel without paying state taxes.

Local police reportedly observed Crespo and Plasencia drive pickup trucks into a trucking yard, where they allegedly dispensed diesel from tanks hidden in the truck beds into two large “bladder” containers – one on a truck trailer and one on the ground – belonging to Lopez, a semi-tractor trailer driver.

Crespo and Plasencia are charged with transporting motor fuel without cargo manifests or shipping documents, and Lopez is charged with accepting delivery of motor fuel without receiving a shipping document. Both offenses are second-degree felonies punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The cases are pending prosecution in Harris County.

Jan. 7

Mario Vela Rodriguez, 52, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain more than 200 gallons of diesel fuel worth more than $300 from three Houston-area gas stations.

A state trooper conducting surveillance reportedly observed the suspect obtaining and pumping diesel directly into oversized “saddle” tanks on either side of his cargo box truck, then drove on public roadways. During a subsequent traffic stop in New Caney, another trooper confiscated 11 “cloned” gift and credit cards. He also discovered that the vehicle contained auxiliary pumps in the tool box area and had been modified to connect hoses and nozzles to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel, reports show.

Rodriguez is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping document, a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The case is pending prosecution in Montgomery County.

Jan. 2

Mark A. Liscano, 28, a Kyle auto dealer, was indicted for allegedly withholding more than $11,000 in taxes and fees collected on sales in 2017 and 2018.

The suspect, who owns and operates a Websmart Auto Group dealership, is accused of failing to remit to the state almost $7,400 in motor vehicle sales taxes and more than $3,800 in vehicle title and registration fees collected on 34 vehicle sales.

Liscano is charged with failure to remit taxes collected and misapplication of fiduciary property, both felonies punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years.

The case is pending prosecution in Hays County.

Wadvens Dorelus, 25, of Hialeah, Fla. pleaded guilty in a Bell County district court to forging a state government check, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and five years’ probation; he also was ordered to pay almost $6,300 in restitution plus court and other costs.

He admitted to forgery by making, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years.

In June 2018, Dorelus illegally acquired a check for unused vacation time belonging to a newly retired state employee from Killeen. The defendant deposited the check into his personal bank account via an automatic teller machine.

Augusto Cesar Gutierrez, 30, of Houston and Cristian Mauricio Morales, 27, of Miami, Fla. pleaded guilty in a Waller County district court to credit card abuse related to fuel tax fraud, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction), three years’ probation, $1,000 fines plus court costs and 50 hours each of community service.

The offense is a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years.

For sentencing purposes, both defendants admitted to but were not convicted of motor fuel tax evasion (i.e., failing to pay backup taxes), a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Those charges were dismissed in the plea agreement, but they must attend an anti-theft class at their own expense.

Last October, the pair used re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel at a Brookshire truck stop. A cardholder alerted local police when his bank notified him that one of his cards was in use.

During their subsequent arrest, investigators found in their possession “cloned” cards used in the transactions. They also discovered an auxiliary tank concealed in the bed of the pickup truck used to store the fuel.

CID assisted the Brookshire Police Department in the investigation of the case.

Alicia Gomez Coronel, 42, an El Paso store manager, has been indicted for failing to produce tobacco invoices and sales records required by state tax law.

The offense of refusing inspection of premises and records is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

In October 2018, Coronel was managing Mandi’s Grocery when CID investigators attempted to inspect the premises. Its tobacco retailer permit had expired, and she and other employees did not produce any proof that taxes had been paid on the tobacco products for sale there.

Investigators subsequently confiscated 249 packs of cigarillos from the store.

The case is pending prosecution in El Paso County.

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