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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.

February 2021

Feb. 26

Yainel Maturell Fernandez, 31, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using a stolen charge card to unlawfully obtain more than 113 gallons of diesel fuel worth $270 from a chain convenience store in Madisonville last spring. Fernandez is charged with credit/debit card abuse of the elderly, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Surveillance video reportedly showed the defendant making two transactions on separate dates and dispensing diesel into the main fuel tank and an auxiliary tank located in the bed of a pickup truck. The case is pending prosecution in Madison County.

Feb. 22

Mario Fernandez-Cruz, 28, of Miami Gardens, Fla. pleaded guilty to using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain 89 gallons of diesel fuel worth almost $224 from a Houston convenience store in December 2019.

A Harris County district judge sentenced him to five years’ probation and ordered him to pay court costs.

Fernandez-Cruz admitted to fraudulent possession of 5-10 items of credit card information, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A related charge of 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, was dismissed in the plea agreement.

Investigators conducting joint surveillance reportedly observed the defendant engaging in multiple fuel transactions before leaving the premises. They discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of his pickup truck, which had been modified to receive, transport and dispense fuel.

Feb. 8

Umid Ghulam Abbas, 26, of Fort Worth was arrested for allegedly possessing unstamped cigarettes at his place of his business.

Investigators found the suspect, the store’s owner and operator, in possession of fewer than 10,000 unstamped cigarettes that require affixed state tax stamps.

Abbas is charged with possession of unstamped cigarettes in quantities less than 10,000, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

The case is pending prosecution in Tarrant County.

Daciel Hang Quesada, 35, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to illegally purchase 48 gallons of diesel fuel worth $97 from a Katy gas station this past December. Quesada is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and purchasing motor fuel with the intent to evade tax, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, as well as unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., his pickup truck), a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Local authorities reportedly observed the defendant conducting a diesel fuel transaction at a fuel pump. Investigators located a black fuel bladder filled with diesel in the truck bed. The investigation further revealed that the vehicle had been outfitted to function as a motor fuel transport, including auxiliary pumps and nozzles used to receive and dispense fuel without additional equipment. Investigators reported confiscating 25 counterfeit cards from the defendant. The case is pending prosecution in Fort Bend County.

Feb. 3

Asif Ali, 46, of Tyler was arrested for allegedly obtaining a coin-operated amusement license by fraud, operating coin-operated amusement machines without a license and purchasing untaxed tobacco products from an unlicensed distributor and failing to maintain the required records.

Local law enforcement contacted a CID investigator in reference to the amusement machine. During an inspection, the investigator identified “one fish table-type” coin-operated amusement machine with no tax decal that allegedly was owned by the suspect. An investigation determined that he had failed to apply for the 2021 tax year license or registration certificate.

The investigator reviewed the registration certificate application dated Aug. 17, 2020 and noticed two serial numbers. One amusement machine matched one serial number. The suspect claimed to not have had the second machine when the application was completed.

A retail tobacco inspection identified multiple boxes of tobacco products without invoices. The investigator further determined that some of the products were not purchased through a licensed distributor. Ali is charged with operating a coin-operated amusement machine without a license, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both, and with obtaining a coin-operated amusement license by fraud, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He also is charged with possessing tobacco products with tax due and failure to maintain tax books and records, both third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The case is pending prosecution in Morris County.

Feb. 2

Mario Echevarria, 49, of Carrollton was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently purchase 100 gallons of diesel fuel worth $199 from a chain convenience store in Irving last fall.

An investigation revealed that the suspect allegedly 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 or shipping documents in September 2020.

Local police stopped Echevarria for a suspected traffic violation on February 1. He reportedly provided fictitious information to them, but they confirmed his identity and discovered two active warrants. The suspect attempted to avoid detention in a stolen vehicle but eventually was arrested. During the ensuing traffic stop, officers reportedly confiscated a wallet containing 25 counterfeit cards. Echevarria is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping documents, motor fuel tax evasion and fraudulent possession of more than 10 but fewer than 50 items of credit/debit card information, all second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He also is charged with theft of property valued at $30,000 or more but less than $150,000 and with evading arrest/detention with a vehicle, both third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The Irving Police Department participated in the arrest. CID and Irving PD investigated the case, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Feb. 1

Erasmo Millan Roldan, 27, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to illegally obtain 47 gallons of diesel fuel worth $100 from a Katy fueling station.

Local police reportedly witnessed the suspect acquiring the fuel and determined that he was not carrying any permits or licenses. His pickup truck was outfitted with a large tank mounted in the bed along with pumps, hoses and nozzles. The vehicle had been modified to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel. Officers confiscated 22 counterfeit cards encoded with credit card information that did not belong to the suspect.

Roldan 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.

The Katy Police Department notified CID of the arrest and the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Harris County.

Eric Jones, 37, of Opelousas, La. pleaded guilty to concealing and storing red-dyed diesel fuel for use on the public highways in December 2019. A Chambers County judge ordered him to pay a $500 fine.

Jones admitted to concealing motor fuel, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

State law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop and inspected the defendant’s pickup truck. An investigator found red-dyed diesel in an auxiliary fuel tank located in the bed of the vehicle.

In Texas, non-taxable diesel fuel 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.

January 2021

Jan. 22

Yunior Hernandez Curbelo, 29, of Houston pleaded guilty to using re-encoded charge cards to illegally obtain diesel fuel.

A Harris County district judge sentenced him to one day in jail and credited him with three days’ time served, applied toward fees and court costs.

Curbelo admitted to engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. As part of his plea agreement, the charged was reduced to a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

Local police conducted a traffic stop and observed an auxiliary tank bladder in the bed of the defendant’s pickup truck. The tank held approximately 200 gallons of diesel fuel. The vehicle was outfitted to function as motor fuel transporter, evidence showed. Three counterfeit charge cards were confiscated from Curbelo.

Jan. 21

Adrian Diaz, 35, of Dallas pleaded guilty to using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently acquire 100 gallons of diesel fuel.

A Dallas County district judge sentenced him to five years’ probation, fined him $2,000 and ordered him to pay court costs.

Diaz admitted to 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.

An investigation found that the defendant obtained diesel fuel using counterfeit credit card information and delivered it to semi-tractor trucks located at a truck yard in Grand Prairie in July 2020.

Jan. 14

Eric Rioja, 37, of Dallas was arrested for allegedly failing to pay motor vehicle sales taxes and defrauding the Department of Motor Vehicles.

An investigation revealed that the suspect allegedly failed to pay the county tax assessor-collector taxes totaling $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 from April to November 2019.

The suspect allegedly collected vehicle registration and titling fees on behalf of the State of Texas and pocketed the fees, valued at $30,000 or more but less than $150,000.

Rioja is charged with failure to remit taxes collected by a motor vehicle dealer of $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 and misapplication of fiduciary property valued at $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, both third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The case is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Glaubely Vazquez Moreira, 35, of Houston pleaded guilty to using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain more than 40 gallons of diesel fuel worth $100.

A Harris County district judge sentenced him to three years’ probation and 120 hours of community service and ordered him to pay fees and court costs.

Moreira admitted to 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, as well as 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.

During a joint surveillance operation, investigators observed the defendant making suspicious transactions at two gas stations in North Houston, the first of which was unsuccessful. When Moreira was apprehended after the second attempt, investigators confiscated 12 counterfeit cards from the suspect’s wallet, evidence showed.

Investigators also discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of the defendant’s pickup truck. It was modified to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel.

Jan. 12

Arlinton Martinez Ferras, 45, of Odessa was indicted for allegedly obtaining untaxed red-dyed diesel fuel.

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

CID investigators and local law enforcement observed the defendant unlawfully acquiring and transporting the dyed diesel fuel. He dispensed the fuel into multiple containers at an undisclosed residence. During a motor fuel tax compliance stop and inspection, investigators located a 275-gallon square tote container with red-dyed diesel fuel. Further inspection found multiple fuel hoses, a fuel nozzle, a fuel pump, a stepladder and a fire extinguisher in the rear compartment of the van.

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 Ector County.

Jan. 7

Alejandro Martinez-Hernandez, 30, of Dallas was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded gift cards to illegally purchase diesel fuel.

During surveillance, two CID investigators allegedly observed the suspect using fraudulent counterfeit credit and debit card information to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel. During a subsequent traffic stop, they allegedly found him in possession of 27 counterfeit cards.

Martinez-Hernandez is charged with fraudulent possession or use of 10 or more but fewer than 50 items of credit/debit cards, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The Irving Police Department assisted CID in this case, which is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Jan. 6

Kingsley Ikechi, 32, of Irving pleaded guilty to fraudulent use or possession of more than 50 items of identifying information.

A Dallas County district judge sentenced him to six years’ probation, 320 hours of community service and a $3,000 fine, plus court costs. The offense is a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The case was part of an investigation that led to the Comptroller’s CID filing charges against the defendant.

Jan. 4

Osley Alvarez-Morales, 33, of Dallas was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded gift cards to illegally obtain 87 gallons of diesel fuel in August 2020.

Alvarez-Morales is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and fraudulent use or possession of more than 10 but fewer than 50 items of identifying information, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A Comptroller’s CID investigator and local police reportedly discovered the defendant unlawfully obtaining the fuel. He was also in possession of counterfeit cards, allegedly with the intent to harm or defraud. The case is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Ernesto Rodriguez-Martinez, 37, of Addison was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded gift cards to illegally obtain approximately 150 gallons of diesel fuel.

Rodriguez-Martinez is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest/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.

A Comptroller’s CID investigator and local police found the defendant obtaining the diesel fuel. He was also in possession of counterfeit cards with the intent to harm or defraud. The case is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Jan. 1

Victor Manuel Sanchez-Zamora, 28, of Irving was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded cards to illegally purchase more than 71 gallons of diesel fuel worth $145 at two fuel stations.

A CID investigator reported that the suspect completed two fraudulent transactions and that 11 counterfeit cards were recovered from him during a subsequent traffic stop. An investigation revealed that the suspect allegedly attempted to evade a tax imposed on motor fuel by failing to pay the backup diesel tax liability.

Sanchez-Zamora is charged with motor fuel tax evasion as well as 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.

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

Wilfredo Samon Mora, 52, of Port Arthur pleaded guilty to concealing motor fuel in February 2020. An Ector County judge sentenced him to three days in jail and fined him $1,000, plus fees and court costs. He was credited with three days’ time served.

Mora admitted to concealing motor fuel, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

An investigation revealed that the defendant intentionally and knowingly concealed untaxed dyed diesel fuel used on public highways without a permit to receive or store the 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.

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