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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.

July 2019

July 30

Jose Luis Bell-Morales, 28, of Homestead, Fla. pleaded guilty in a Caldwell County district court to motor fuel tax evasion and received deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and six years’ probation. He was assessed a $1,000 fine plus court costs and ordered to pay $638 in restitution and perform 140 hours of community service.

The offense is a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Bell-Morales admitted using a re-encoded credit card to unlawfully obtain more than 102 gallons of diesel fuel worth more than $265 from a Luling truck stop in January 2018.

July 25

Rosie Stevenson, 74, of Houston and Terry Sozanski, 56, Juliana M. Tychowskyj, 64, and Donald Dankowich, 66, all of Sugar Land were arrested after being indicted for allegedly stealing more than $17,000 from the Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property program in 2015.

All of the defendants were taken into custody in late June or July in Harris County except Sozanski, who was apprehended in North Dakota and extradited to Texas in early August.

Stevenson and Sozanski are accused of posing as agents for a pipeline company that had a claim on file. The foursome also is accused of trying to defraud the program out of more than $600,000 by posing as agents for two other Texas corporations with claims pending.

The businesses ranged from oil and gas exploration to a wrecker service and a florist.

Each defendant is charged with attempted theft of $300,000 or more, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. They also are charged with theft of property worth between $2,500 and $30,000 and with attempted theft of between $30,000 and $150,000. Each offense is a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition, Sozanski is charged with forgery, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, for allegedly falsifying a claim letter purportedly from a Missouri City attorney in 2016. Sozanski also is charged with three counts of tampering with a government document, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000, for submitting false franchise tax reports.

Sugar Land police assisted CID in making two of the arrests. The cases are pending prosecution in Travis County.

July 18

Luis Angel Moreno Lopez, 50, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain more than 95 gallons of diesel fuel worth almost $250 from a chain convenience store in Pearland in March.

The defendant was part of a foursome driving a pickup truck and a box truck. Both vehicles had been modified with hoses, nozzles, electric pumps and auxiliary tanks mounted in the beds to receive, transport and dispense fuel, according to reports. The suspects reportedly were passing charge cards to each other between the two vehicles.

Store employees observed the illegal transactions and alerted Pearland police. They claim that the suspects attempted to conceal and dispose of their wallets and 49 “cloned” cards recovered when police arrived.

Moreno Lopez is charged with engaging in a 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 unlawful use of a criminal instrument and fraudulently using identification.

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

July 10

Arnaldo Yuriel Armas-Garcia, 35, of Fountain, Colo. and Yusniel Gonzalez-Rodriguez, 36, of Lexington, Neb. were arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Katy in May.

A store employee reportedly observed the defendants using “cloned” credit cards to obtain diesel fuel and contacted Katy police.

After stopping their pickup truck, officers discovered a modified tank mounted in the truck bed. The vehicle had been further modified with hoses and nozzles to receive, transport and dispense large quantities of fuel, according to reports.

For failing to pay the required backup tax, Armas-Garcia and Gonzalez-Rodriguez were both indicted in June for motor fuel tax evasion, as well as purchasing motor fuel intending to evade tax, both second-degree felonies punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. They also are 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 are charging both defendants with felony credit card abuse.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office assisted CID in arresting Armas-Garcia upon indictment. Gonzalez-Rodriguez was arrested in Nebraska and extradited to face charges in Texas.

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

William Froelim Euceda, 46, of Harlingen was indicted for allegedly offering for sale at three convenience stores tobacco products on which he owed several hundred dollars in state taxes last October.

Euceda is 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.

During an inspection, 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. An analysis of records determined that other tobacco products also had been purchased through the internet without paying Texas taxes.

The case is pending prosecution in Cameron County.

Raunel Pinero-Dieguez, 45, of San Antonio pleaded no contest in a Bexar County district court to unlawful fuel transportation, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and three years’ probation. He also was fined $1,450 and ordered to pay court costs.

Pinero-Dieguez admitted transporting diesel fuel without proper documentation, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Dismissed in the plea agreement were three other related charges: motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine; engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a transporter's license, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine; and felony credit card abuse.

Pinero-Dieguez and a co-defendant allegedly used a re-encoded fleet credit card to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel from a San Antonio gas company's unmanned card lock location in June 2018.

July 9

Mamoon Ahmad Allan, 33, of Pflugerville was arrested for allegedly possessing untaxed tobacco.

In January, investigators conducted a compliance inspection at Allan’s place of business, Smoke Shop Boulevard, in Austin. They reportedly discovered and seized numerous individual tobacco products for which no invoices could be produced, including wraps, cigars, cigar cones and hookah tobacco.

Allan was indicted in June for possession of tobacco products on which $50 or more in taxes are due, as well as failure to maintain books and records of tobacco transactions. Both offenses are third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The case is pending prosecution in Travis County.

July 8

Dariel Martinez-Hernandez, 32, of Katy was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain 174 gallons of diesel fuel from a pumping station at a Katy supermarket in June.

The suspect reportedly was observed using one of 14 “cloned” credit cards to activate a pump to put diesel fuel into his pickup truck. Upon arresting him at the scene, Katy police discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the truck bed and linked to the primary tank.

A subsequent inspection by CID revealed that the metal canister contained 261 gallons of diesel. The truck also had been modified with hoses and nozzles to receive, transport and dispense large quantities of fuel, according to reports.

For failing to pay the required backup tax, Martinez-Hernandez was indicted in June for motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Local authorities also are charging him with felony credit card abuse.

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

July 1

Jor-el Robert Blackmon, 40, of Fort Worth was indicted for allegedly using red dyed diesel fuel in two pickup trucks and storing it in containers and an auxiliary tank at his residence in late November.

Blackmon 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, and with delivering dyed diesel fuel into a motor vehicle for use on a public roadway, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The defendant is believed to have taken the fuel from a South Texas well drilling site operated by his employer. In Texas, to distinguish it from taxed diesel, non-taxable diesel is dyed red. It is authorized almost exclusively for off-road, agricultural use by permit-holders only.

The case is pending prosecution in Tarrant County.

Fredricke Deon Espy Jr., 27, of Amarillo pleaded guilty in a Potter County court at law to three tobacco permit violations and was sentenced to 18 days in jail and fines totaling $1,500. He was credited with two days’ time served and also ordered to pay court costs.

Espy admitted to selling cigarettes and receiving and possessing 48 cigarette products as a retailer, all without a valid state permit. Each offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both.

CID investigators seized the unlawful merchandise at Sir’s Smoke Shop in Amarillo, which Espy operates, during a compliance inspection last December.

Case News Archive »

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