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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.

November 2020

Nov. 20

Onnis Alvarez Rubio, 48, of Dallas was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain 231 gallons of diesel fuel.

Rubio is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. He also is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a permit or license, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

An investigation found that the suspect obtained motor fuel using counterfeit credit card information.

The Azle and Grand Prairie police departments assisted CID with the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Franklin Leyva De La (aka Franklin LeyvaDeLa), 36, of Fort Worth was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain 99 gallons of diesel fuel.

De La is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents and fraudulent use or possession of more than 10 but fewer than 50 items of identifying information, all second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

An investigation found that the suspect obtained motor fuel using counterfeit credit card information.

The Irving Police Department assisted CID with the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Ruben Alejandro Moreno Muriel, 35, of Farmers Branch was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain 107 gallons of diesel fuel.

Muriel is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. He also is charged with credit/debit card abuse, a felony punishable by confinement for six months up to two years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000.

An investigation found that the suspect obtained motor fuel from a gas station using counterfeit credit card information.

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

Adrian Diaz, 34, and Eddy Xavier Burgos-Torres, 25, both of Dallas, were indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently purchase 100 gallons of diesel fuel.

Diaz and Burgos-Torres are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000; transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000; and engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a permit or license, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Burgos-Torres also is charged with fraudulent use or possession of more than 10 but fewer than 50 items of identifying information, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

An investigation found that the two suspects obtained diesel fuel using counterfeit credit card information and delivered it to semi-tractor trucks located at a truck yard in Grand Prairie.

The Grand Prairie Police Department assisted CID with the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Alexeis Victor Salva-Matos, 35, of Irving was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded cards to fraudulently obtain more than 107 gallons of diesel fuel worth more than $199.

An investigation revealed that the suspect intentionally and knowingly attempted to evade motor fuel tax by failing to pay the backup diesel tax liability, and transported motor fuel without a cargo manifest. The suspect was also in possession of 20 counterfeit cards used in acquiring the fuel.

Salva-Matos is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The Irving Police Department assisted CID with the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Nov. 19

Ekombe Numbe Saleh, 30, of Abilene was indicted for allegedly failing to enter information or making a false entry related to sales and use tax returns.

Saleh is charged with failure to make entry or false entry on tax records, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

An investigation revealed that the defendant made false entries related to his 2018 first, second and third quarter sales and use tax returns.

The case is pending prosecution in Taylor County.

Nov. 18

Rolando Ortiz-Utrera, 33, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded gift cards to illegally purchase 116 gallons of diesel fuel worth $302 from a Pearland chain convenience store in 2019.

Ortiz-Utrera is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000, and unlawful use of a criminal instrument, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. He was arrested on the charges under a sealed indictment.

Local police apprehended the defendant while pumping diesel fuel into a concealed auxiliary fuel tank. Store employees observed him using multiple credit cards at the pump to complete the transactions. An inspection revealed that the pickup was modified to receive, dispense and transport large quantities of fuel. The defendant allegedly possessed two counterfeit gift cards containing credit card information.

The Pearland Police Department assisted CID with the arrest and joint investigation, which is pending prosecution in Brazoria County.

Alfredo Miranda Muniz, 50, of Katy was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to illegally obtain 47 gallons of diesel fuel worth $95.

Muniz is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A local detective allegedly witnessed the defendant using counterfeit credit cards to purchase the diesel fuel. His truck reportedly was outfitted with a large tank mounted in the bed and fitted with hoses and nozzles. The truck qualified as a motor fuel transport vehicle, according to investigators.

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

Addam Smith, 42, of Crandell was arrested for allegedly operating coin-operated machines without a license or certificate.

Two investigators responded to a location and assisted Comptroller enforcement officers with an inspection of a clandestine game room. Upon arrival, one of the investigators observed 24 “8-liner” coin-operated machines located in the back portion of the building. The suspect confirmed that he owned the machines, which did not have affixed state tax decals, and did not have a state license.

Smith is charged with operating coin-operated machines without a license, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both.

The Caddo Mills Police Department assisted CID with the arrest, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Luis Mario Vela Reyes, 33, of Cleveland pleaded guilty to fraudulent use/possession of identifying information.

A Polk County district judge sentenced him to 350 days of incarceration and ordered him to pay reimbursement fees and court costs. The offense is a felony punishable by confinement for six months up to two years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000. As part of his plea bargain, charges of motor fuel tax evasion, transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest and unlawful use of a criminal instrument were dismissed.

A Department of Public Safety (DPS) special agent reportedly observed the defendant conducting a suspicious diesel fuel transaction. During a subsequent inspection of Reyes’ pickup truck, the agent located a silver fuel bladder filled with diesel fuel and a counterfeit gift card allegedly used in the transaction. Evidence showed the vehicle was outfitted with auxiliary pumps and nozzles designed to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel.

CID assisted DPS CID with this motor fuel tax fraud investigation.

Nov. 16

Adiel Jesus Vasquez-Medina, 25, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to illegally obtain large quantities of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Katy.

Vasquez-Medina is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The defendant allegedly was observed at a gas station using counterfeit credit cards. He was unable to produce invoices verifying the legal fuel purchase and taxes paid, according to reports.

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

Nov. 6

Luis Henry Leon-Fernandez, 30, of Irving was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded cards to fraudulently obtain more than 49 gallons of diesel fuel worth $99.

An investigation determined that the suspect intentionally and knowingly attempted to evade a tax imposed on motor fuel by failing to pay the backup diesel tax liability, and transported motor fuel without a cargo manifest. A total of 35 counterfeit cards were recovered from a concealed location inside the suspect’s vehicle.

Leon-Fernandez is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The Irving Police Department assisted CID with the arrest, and the agencies conducted a joint investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Nov. 4

Pedro Serrano-Echevarria, 41, of Addison pleaded guilty to motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without shipping documents.

A Cooke County district judge sentenced him to five years’ probation and ordered him to pay reimbursement fees and court costs. Both offenses are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The defendant allegedly was using counterfeit credit cards to pump diesel fuel into an external fuel cell in the bed of his pickup truck. Local police contacted an investigator in reference to multiple fuel thefts that occurred in the city. The defendant was stopped and later identified as the suspect involved in making the illegal fuel purchases.

Carlos Sanchez Ramirez, 26, and James Purcell Huffman, 61, both of Muleshoe, were indicted for allegedly failing to pay the backup tax on approximately 82 gallons of dyed diesel fuel.

Ramirez and Huffman are charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

An investigation revealed that dyed diesel fuel had been dispensed into the main fuel supply tanks of the defendants’ pickup and livestock feed trucks, which were operating on a public highway using untaxed motor fuel.

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 Lamb County.

Nov. 3

Osmel Galban Columbie, 46, of Arlington was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain more than 76 gallons of diesel fuel worth $147 from a chain gas station in Euless.

An investigation revealed that the suspect intentionally and knowingly attempted to evade a tax imposed on motor fuel by failing to pay the backup diesel tax liability, and transported motor fuel without a cargo manifest. A total of eight counterfeit cards reportedly were recovered from the suspect during a subsequent traffic stop.

Columbie is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office conducted the arrest, and the Euless Police Department assisted CID with the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Tarrant County.

October 2020

Oct. 26

Andrew Michael Correll, 29, of Houston was indicted for allegedly making fraudulent claims totaling more than $865,000 to the Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property Division last June.

Correll is charged with submitting false statements to obtain property and forgery with intent to obtain property greater than $300,000. Both offenses are first-degree felonies, each punishable by five to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Employees in the division became suspicious of the numerous claims the defendant filed and notified CID. An investigation revealed that forged documents and false statements allegedly were made when submitting the claims. Several affidavits obtained from the entities involved stated that the defendant had no authority to make the claims nor access to their funds.

CID conducted the investigation, which is pending prosecution is Harris County.

Oct. 23

Nim Tamang, 30, of Fort Worth was arrested for allegedly selling tobacco products without a valid permit at his place of business.

Two CID investigators conducting an amusement and tobacco inspection on Oct. 2 discovered 25 coin-operated amusement machines, 23 of which did not have the required state tax decals properly affixed. Furthermore, the storefront displayed tobacco products behind the counter. An investigation determined that the suspect did not hold a tobacco permit.

Tamang is charged with possession of tobacco without a permit, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

CID conducted the investigation, which is pending prosecution in Tarrant County.

Oct. 22

Yariel Montalvan Fernandez, 34, of Houston and Hugo Alberto Rubio Andino, 30, of Round Rock were indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain sizable quantities of diesel fuel from a Round Rock fuel station.

Fernandez and Andino are charged with credit/debit card abuse, a state jail felony punishable by confinement for six months up to two years and up to a $10,000 fine.

The defendants were observed illegally acquiring diesel fuel using stolen credit/debit card information on March 3. Andino allegedly obtained approximately 41 gallons of diesel fuel; Fernandez, approximately 28 gallons. Both defendants admitted to purchasing the fuel using their own debit cards, but Department of Public Safety (DPS) agents observed them using the fraudulent cards.

CID assisted DPS with the investigation of the cases, which are pending prosecution in Williamson County.

Oct. 16

Muhammad Adnan, 31, of Stafford and Raheel Mehboob, 37, of Spring were arrested for allegedly operating amusement machines in Gun Barrel City without a license.

Local police contacted a CID investigator in reference to the amusement machines. The investigator conducted a compliance inspection by meeting with Mehboob, one of the business owners. He identified four “Spin Jack 21” and five “8-liner,” coin-operated amusement machines. Eight of the machines were operational, and one was not in service. Seven machines did not display current state tax decals, reports show.

The investigation revealed that the suspects owned the five 8-liners at the location without having a general business license or registration certificate.

Adnan and Mehboob are charged with operating coin-operated amusement machines without a license, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

The Gun Barrel City Police Department assisted CID with the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Henderson County.

Oct. 9

Naeem Maknojia, 41, of Cedar Park was indicted for allegedly purchasing untaxed tobacco products from an unpermitted tobacco distributor between March 2015 and November 2018.

Maknojia is charged with possession of tobacco products with more than $50 in tax due, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Information received from the Illinois Department of Revenue indicated that a cigar company was selling and delivering tobacco products to one of the defendant’s tobacco stores. Records revealed that he was purchasing tobacco products from the unpermitted distributor.

The case is pending prosecution in Travis County.

Mohmad Tasleem Khan, 66, of Pflugerville was indicted for allegedly purchasing untaxed tobacco products from an unlicensed distributor and failing to maintain required records.

Khan is charged with possessing tobacco products on which taxes of more than $50 were due and failure to maintain books and records. Both offenses are third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

In August 2019, an on-site inspection revealed that the defendant, who manages New Medina Market, had purchased tobacco products from an unlicensed, out-of-state distributor while only holding a retailer permit.

The case is pending prosecution in Travis County.

Oct. 5

Jeffrey Jason Hogue, 63, of Missouri City was indicted for alleged tobacco tax stamp and reporting offenses at his place of business in Stafford.

Hogue is charged with multiple counts of books and records violations, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

During an on-site inspection, investigators determined that the defendant had failed to report large purchases of untaxed cigarettes since March 2019 and did not affix the required state tax stamps to numerous packs of cigarettes purchased.

The case is pending prosecution in Fort Bend County.

Stephen Asiku Gule, 38, of Houston was indicted for allegedly mailing 10 false and forged claim forms over a two-month period to the Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property Division seeking to claim property totaling more than $370,000.

Gule is charged with submitting false statements to obtain property and forgery with intent to obtain property greater than $300,000. Both offenses are first-degree felonies, each punishable by five to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Seven of the claims were for property belonging to a variety of entities. In the other three claims, the defendant purported to be the chief financial officer or a corporate officer of several national and international corporations. According to witness statements, he was not a corporate officer of one entity and had no legal right to the funds, nor did he hold any such positions with the other entities.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service assisted CID with the investigation. The Harris County Constable’s Office participated in the defendant’s arrest with a CID team.

The case is pending prosecution in Harris County.

Lazaro Suarez Copinger, 28, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to fraudulently obtain diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Baytown. Copinger is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Security video allegedly showed the defendant using “cloned” credit cards to illegally purchase diesel fuel on eight separate occasions between February and April of this year. He used a pickup truck with an auxiliary tank in the bed and a flatbed truck with large saddle tanks, according to reports.

The Cleveland and Houston police departments assisted CID with the arrest and in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Harris County.

Oct. 1

Luis Mario Vela Reyes, 33, of Cleveland, Texas, was indicted for allegedly using a re-encoded gift card to illegally acquire over 19 gallons of diesel fuel worth $50 last January. Reyes is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A DPS special agent reportedly observed the defendant conducting a suspicious diesel fuel transaction at the pump. During a subsequent inspection of his pickup truck, the agent reportedly located a silver fuel bladder filled with diesel fuel and a “cloned” gift card allegedly used in the purchase. An inspection revealed that the vehicle was outfitted with auxiliary pumps and nozzles designed to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel.

CID assisted DPS with the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Montgomery County.

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