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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.


May 2022

May 26

Yosbel Ponce Bernal, 29, of Houston was arrested for allegedly acquiring and unlawfully appropriating 898 gallons of diesel fuel worth $4,481 from a chain convenience store.

An investigation revealed that the suspect manipulated the fuel dispenser’s pulser device with the intent to establish, maintain or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination to evade motor fuel tax.

Bernal is 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.

The case is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Muhammad Asif Anwar, 56, of Wylie was arrested for allegedly possessing tobacco products without the state-issued permit being posted within public view.

An investigator received a complaint about the suspect’s business selling tobacco to minors and conducted surveillance of the location. He identified a minor leaving the store with tobacco products. An on-site inspection revealed that a cigarette and tobacco retail permit was not visibly posted in the business as required by statute, and the investigator observed the store manager remove two permits behind the sales counter.

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

The case is pending prosecution in Collin County.

May 25

Jose Emilio Morales Soto, 48, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit/debit cards to unlawfully obtain 82 gallons of diesel fuel worth $125 from a chain grocery store in Cypress.

Soto is charged with fraudulent use or possession of more than five but fewer than 10 items of credit/debit card information, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000; evading motor fuel tax, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison a fine up to $10,000; and credit card abuse, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up two years and a fine up to $10,000.

In March 2022, an investigator responded to a credit card abuse call and reviewed video surveillance of the defendant at the location on several occasions. He went to the fueling station and noticed the vehicle used in the theft. The investigator approached and detained Soto. He was identified on scene and found to have conducted three illegal transactions. Three counterfeit cards, among nine found in his possession, were used in the purchases.

The case is pending prosecution in Harris County.

May 24

Rafiq Rajabali, 57, aka Rafiq Rajabal, of San Antonio was indicted for allegedly failing to maintain the required records for cigarette and tobacco purchases.

Rajabali is charged with cigarette tax code books and records violation, a third degree-felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

During an August 2019 on-site tobacco inspection, investigators confiscated cigarettes from the owner’s business that were reported stolen from other tobacco retailers. The defendant did not provide any invoices or documents from a records demand involving the seized cigarettes.

The case is pending prosecution in Bexar County.

May 19

Narvy Leonel Cruz Gonzalez, 25, of Pflugerville was arrested for allegedly acquiring and unlawfully appropriating 148 gallons of diesel fuel worth $768 from a chain convenience store.

Investigators observed the suspect illegally take possession of the fuel. An investigation revealed that he used a device to manipulate the fuel pump’s pulser device. A motor fuel tax inspection unveiled an approximate 148-gallon fuel tank in the truck’s bed concealed inside a large toolbox. The vehicle was outfitted with a pump, hose, nozzle and digital fuel meter consistent with transporting and dispensing fuel. Cruz Gonzalez fled investigators to evade detention before being arrested after a short foot pursuit.

Cruz Gonzalez is charged with evading or attempting to evade motor fuel tax, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000, and evading arrest or detention, a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

The case is pending prosecution in Travis County.

Gunter Joan Gomez Heredia, 32, of Odessa was indicted for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to illegally purchase 46 gallons of diesel fuel worth $150 from a Seminole fueling station.

Heredia is charged with purchasing motor fuel with the intent to evade motor fuel tax, transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest and motor fuel tax evasion. The three offenses are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. He is also charged with 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.

In April 2021, an eyewitness, along with video surveillance, confirmed the defendant obtained the fuel from a pump. A local sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop and identified him. An investigation revealed Heredia transported approximately 200 gallons of diesel fuel without shipping documents and did not have a motor fuel transporter’s license.

The case is pending prosecution in Gaines County.

May 12

Damian Barrero, 30, of Alice was arrested for allegedly obtaining red dyed diesel fuel for use on public highways.

During a fuel tax inspection of the suspect’s vehicle, an investigator discovered red dyed diesel fuel in two primary tanks of the truck. Barrero explained that he did not know where the fuel was from.

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.

Barrero is charged with evading or attempting to evade motor fuel tax, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The case is pending prosecution in Victoria County.

Pedro Marciano Lopez, 48, of Odessa was arrested for allegedly short loading large amounts of diesel fuel from a Midland fuel distributor without the proper documentation.

The fuel distributor permit holder told an investigator the suspect was headed toward the location with fuel in a supply tanker truck. The investigation and video surveillance show the suspect attaching a supply hose from the truck and dispensing fuel into a storage tank that held approximately 12,000 gallons. Officers arrested Lopez on the property.

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

The case is pending prosecution in Ector County.

Jesus Vargas, 68, of Odessa was arrested for allegedly receiving large amounts of unlawfully acquired diesel fuel from a Midland fuel distributor truck driver without the proper documentation.

An investigation and video surveillance show Vargas allowing another individual to dispense numerous quantities of diesel fuel into a storage tank at a disclosed location an employee provided to investigators. The suspect stated that he buys fuel from the business and receives an invoice for payment. Vargas could not provide the proper documents for the delivery and was arrested.

Vargas is charged with accepting delivery of motor fuel without shipping documents and motor fuel tax evasion, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The case is pending prosecution in Ector County.

May 11

Yandis Perez-Hidalgo, 39, of Grand Prairie was arrested for allegedly using stolen charge card numbers to illegally purchase 1,485 gallons of diesel fuel worth $4,829 from a Mansfield fueling station.

Video surveillance showed Perez-Hidalgo at the location unlawfully purchasing fuel 41 times from Nov. 16, 2021, to Feb. 1, 2022. An investigator followed the suspect to a warehouse and observed him fueling a cargo truck from an auxiliary fuel tank in the back of his vehicle. He failed to provide proper documents when investigators made contact with him.

Perez-Hidalgo is charged with evading or attempting to evade motor fuel tax 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 case is pending prosecution in Tarrant and Dallas counties.

May 8

Yoagner Torres Rodriguez, 39, of Mesquite was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded gift cards to fraudulently obtain 114 gallons of diesel fuel worth $598 from a fuel depot in Grand Prairie.

A store employee observed the suspect on surveillance video dispensing the fuel into the truck and contacted local police, who later took the suspect into custody and arrested him. Rodriguez conducted two illegal transactions to purchase the fuel. During a search of his vehicle, 15 counterfeit cards were found in the driver’s side door panel. The search also revealed a fabricated metal fuel cell located inside the truck’s wall.

Rodriguez is charged with evading or attempting to evade motor fuel tax 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 is also charged with unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., his box truck), a third-degree felony punishable by to two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The case is pending prosecution in Tarrant County.

May 1

Osvaldo Soto Abraira, 25, of Austin was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded cards with stolen credit/debit card information to fraudulently acquire 111 gallons of diesel fuel.

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

The defendant was observed dispensing fuel at three different locations. A Department of Public Safety (DPS) investigator conducted a traffic stop and reportedly noticed him throwing a wallet outside the passenger’s window. Eleven counterfeit cards were found inside the recovered wallet. Abraira admitted to purchasing and using the cards to acquire and sell the fuel.

The case is pending prosecution in Travis County.


April 2022

April 29

Maikel Fonseca Corzo, 33, of Round Rock was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit/debit card information to illegally acquire 49 gallons of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Austin.

Corzo is charged with evading or attempting to evade motor fuel tax and transporting motor fuel without shipping documents, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He is also charged with fraudulent use or possession of more than five but fewer than 10 items of credit/debit card information and unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., his truck), both third degree-felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

In August 2020, a search of his vehicle revealed a 160-gallon auxiliary tank in the truck bed outfitted with a pump, fuel hose, fuel nozzle and digital fuel meter. The defendant reportedly admitted that he did not have permits or shipping documents related to the fuel.

Officers also located nine counterfeit cards in Corzo’s possession. A store receipt showed that one of the cards used in the purchase was a gift card. He claimed to have used one of his two debit cards.

The case is pending prosecution in Travis County.

Yunaika Aleyda Romero-Marquez, 33, Elwisbel Gomez-Delgado, 34, and Maria Doblado-Barges, 27, all of Tanglewood pleaded guilty to participating in organized criminal activity while using re-encoded credit/debit card information to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel.

A Lee County district judge granted the defendants deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and sentenced them to five years’ probation, to complete 100 hours of community service and to pay a fine of $1,500 plus court costs and fees. Romero-Marquez was ordered to serve two days in jail and was credited with two days’ time served. Gomez-Delgado served six months in jail and was credited with one month time served.

The defendants 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. Romero-Marquez and Gomez-Delgado admitted to credit/debit card abuse, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up two years and a fine up to $10,000.

Investigators reportedly watched all three defendants unlawfully acquire the fuel from several counties. They observed Romero-Marquez and Gomez-Delgado transport the fuel to several locations in Williamson County, Texas. During the execution of a search warrant of their residence, investigators discovered numerous pieces of evidence related to the theft along with a large number of counterfeit cards.

April 28

Kian Rezaeizadeh, 59, of Rockwall was indicted for allegedly failing to maintain the required records for cigarette and tobacco purchases.

Rezaeizadeh is charged with cigar and tobacco products tax code books and records violation, a third degree-felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

In July 2020, an on-site inspection revealed that the defendant failed to produce the required invoices from permitted tobacco distributors and wholesalers from the period of March 25, 2020, through March 25, 2021.

The case is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

April 21

Stephen Thornton, 70, of Dallas was indicted for allegedly falsifying a renewal application for coin-operated amusement machines.

Thornton is charged with two counts of tampering with a government record, both third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

An investigation revealed that the defendant submitted a general business license renewal and additional sticker application through fraud, then sold decals obtained by the applications.

The case is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

April 20

Leodanis Ebanks Aragon, 40, of Houston pleaded guilty to using re-encoded credit cards to fraudulently purchase 74 gallons of diesel fuel worth $149 from a Pearland convenience store.

A Brazoria County district judge granted the defendant deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and sentenced him to three years’ probation, to complete 180 hours of community service and to pay a $1,240 fine plus court costs. He was also ordered to pay $289 in restitution.

Aragon admitted to evading or attempting to evade motor fuel tax, 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, a third degree-felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. In May 2020, a store manager reportedly witnessed the defendant using a re-encoded charge card to purchase the fuel. Local police responded and made contact with Aragon. Investigators found that Aragon’s truck was outfitted with a modified tank in the bed, along with a pump, hose and a metered nozzle. A Fuze card found in his possession contained 27 credit/debit card numbers, only one of which was issued to him.

April 14

Yunior Paneque Garlobo, 41, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to using re-encoded charge cards to illegally purchase diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Pearland.

A Brazoria County district judge sentenced the defendant to 32 days in jail and to pay a fine of $270. He was credited with 32 days’ time served.

Garlobo admitted to unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., his truck), a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both. The charges of motor fuel tax evasion and engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license were dismissed in his plea agreement.

A store employee reportedly witnessed the purchase and contacted local police, who conducted a traffic stop and identified Garlobo. An investigation revealed that his truck was outfitted with a large tank mounted in the bed along with hoses, pumps and nozzles consistent with transporting and dispensing fuel.

April 11

Juan Rodriguez-Bacallao, 49, of Dallas was arrested for allegedly using stolen credit card information to fraudulently obtain 420 gallons of diesel fuel from a Mansfield convenience store.

An investigation revealed that the suspect acquired the diesel fuel from April to June 2021.

Rodriguez-Bacallao is charged with evading or attempting to evade motor fuel tax, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

The case is pending prosecution in Tarrant County.

April 8

Mohmad Tasleem Khan, 67, of Pflugerville pleaded guilty to purchasing untaxed tobacco products from an unlicensed distributor and failing to maintain the required records.

A Travis County district judge granted the defendant deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and sentenced him to 10 years’ probation. Khan was ordered to pay over $70,000 in restitution plus court costs and fees.

Khan admitted to possession of tobacco products on which more than $50 in taxes were due and books and records violation, both third degree-felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

In August 2019, an investigator conducted an on-site inspection of the business and reported that the defendant admitted to purchasing tobacco products from an out-of-state, unlicensed distributor and only having a retailer permit. The investigation revealed that Khan possessed tobacco products on which a tax of more than $50 is required to be remitted.

April 7

Yainel Maturell Fernandez, 32, of Houston pleaded guilty to possession of re-encoded gift cards with stolen credit/debit card information.

A Harris County district judge sentenced the defendant to 12 days in jail and was credited with six days’ time served. He was ordered to pay $290 in court costs plus fees.

Through his attorney, Fernandez admitted to fraudulent use or possession of credit/debit card information, a third degree-felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The charge was reduced to a state jail felony.

Investigators found counterfeit cards in his possession at the time of his arrest.

April 1

Roger Sierra, 43, of Houston pleaded guilty to using re-encoded credit/debit cards to fraudulently obtain 42 gallons of diesel fuel.

A Harris County district judge sentenced the defendant to two years in prison. He was ordered to pay $290 in court costs, $930 in fees and was credited with 179 days’ time served.

Sierra admitted to fraudulent use or possession of credit card or debit card information, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The charge of engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license was dismissed.

An investigation revealed that the defendant obtained the fuel with the intent to act as a motor fuel transporter. Counterfeit cards were found in his possession at the time of his arrest.

Dien Phuc Nguyen, 52, of Watauga pleaded guilty to operating coin-operated amusement machines at his place of business without proper documentation.

A Tarrant County judge sentenced the defendant to one day in jail and was credited with two days’ time served. He was ordered to pay $272 in court costs.

Nguyen admitted to operating amusement machines without a license or registration certificate, a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both.

During an inspection of his game room, investigators identified 10 machines that did not have the required state tax decals affixed and determined the suspect owned and displayed the machines without a license or certificate.

Roger Taracon Rodriguez, 42, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit/debit cards to illegally obtain 90 gallons of diesel fuel worth $299 from a Cypress chain grocery store.

Rodriguez is charged with evading motor fuel tax, 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 license, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A Harris County constable observed the defendant pumping diesel fuel into his pickup truck. A traffic stop was conducted after his vehicle left the premises. An investigation revealed a nearly 100-gallon, large, steel, auxiliary fuel tank in the truck bed. The vehicle was equipped with a pump, hose and nozzle to receive, transport and dispense fuel. Sixty-two counterfeit cards were discovered in the investigation.

The case is pending prosecution in Harris County.