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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.

December 2019

Dec. 19

Rafael Perez Hung, 32, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain a sizable quantity of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Pearland.

For failing to pay backup tax, he 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. Local authorities also have charged him with felony fraudulent use/possession of credit/debit cards.

On Nov. 5, a store employee observed what appeared to be an unlawful transaction at a gas pump and alerted local police.

Upon apprehending the suspect, officers discovered an auxiliary tank mounted in the bed of his pickup truck. Reports show that the tank had been modified with a hose, nozzle, pump and meter to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel.

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

Dec. 18

Jose Cipriano Guerrero Sanchez, 44, a Mexican national, was arrested at a border crossing in Pharr for allegedly diverting thousands of gallons of gasoline bound for Mexico to a Brownsville trucking company site last summer and fall.

On five occasions in August, September and October, the suspect and an accomplice allegedly unloaded gas from trucks belonging to a Mexican cargo firm into drums at a freight yard, instead of delivering them to the purchaser in Mexico. By state law, exported gasoline is untaxed.

Sanchez is charged with five counts of motor fuel distribution without paying taxes owed, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He also 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.

Similar charges are pending against the accomplice, who remains at large.

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

Yoed Anis, 35, of Austin was indicted for allegedly posing as a state employee while trying to sell taxpayer data to a national wine and liquor distributor in 2018.

He is charged with impersonating a public servant, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

At a January 2018 meeting with distributor officials in Farmers Branch, the defendant allegedly offered to sell them a data analytics package for more than half a million dollars, ostensibly prepared by his company, yDrink LLC. The data reportedly included alcohol, beer and wine sales figures organized by ZIP code and store location that could be used for marketing purposes.

The defendant claimed to be an agent of the State of Texas but reportedly declined to identify which agency he worked for. Investigators subsequently determined that the information offered for sale could only have been obtained from a Comptroller database, the Retail Inventory Tracking System.

The case is pending prosecution in Dallas County.

Dec. 13

Jerry Wayne Graham, 65, of Nacogdoches was arrested for misrepresenting his tax permit status and selling tobacco products without a valid permit last November.

During a compliance inspection at his retail tobacco and vape store, Stuff N Such, an employee produced a tobacco permit for an establishment at an address other than the store being inspected. The suspect allegedly claimed that he had submitted the permit to the Comptroller’s Austin office to add the store’s address.

Upon request, the suspect allegedly produced a sales tax permit for his antiques shop next door, not the tobacco store. Investigators confiscated 15 boxes and eight packages of cigarillos being offered for sale on the premises.

Graham is charged with misleading the Comptroller and selling tobacco products without a valid tax permit. Both offenses are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both.

The case is pending prosecution in Nacogdoches County.

Michael Shane Tucker, 43, of Comanche was indicted for unlawfully obtaining 71 gallons of diesel fuel from a fuel company in 2017.

The defendant is accused of manipulating a fuel pump by turning the key activation device off and on so as to prevent the meter from counting the number of gallons being delivered.

For failing to pay backup tax, Tucker 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 case is pending prosecution in Comanche County.

Dec. 12

Deepak Chalise, 48, of Irving pleaded guilty in an Anderson County district court to possessing tobacco in 2018 on which more than $50 in taxes were due.

He received deferred adjudication (no final conviction), four years’ probation and was ordered to pay restitution plus court costs. The offense is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Chalise, who owns and operates grocery stores in Tyler and Frankston, admitted possessing sizable quantities of untaxed tobacco at his Tyler store in October 2018. An investigator confiscated dozens of cans of untaxed smokeless tobacco and 163 packs of cigarettes bearing Louisiana tax stamps. Seized from the Frankston store were several packages of pipe tobacco for sale at a price less than the tax liability, reports show.

The defendant also was accused of buying and transporting for resale cigarettes, pipe tobacco and other tobacco products without paying applicable state taxes. Those charges, also third-degree felonies, were dismissed in the plea agreement, as were two separate misdemeanor unstamped cigarette possession charges.

Orlando Goulet-Nazario, 31, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain more than 90 gallons of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Baytown last fall.

On Oct. 28, local police confiscated 56 “cloned” cards from the suspect and an accomplice [see Dec. 6 entry], who allegedly used some of them in the four transactions reportedly observed. Investigators discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the cargo bed of the suspects’ pickup truck consistent with motor fuel transportation.

Goulet-Nazario is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license. The offense is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He also is charged by local authorities 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.

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

Dec. 11

Cody Raymond Johnson, 29, of Caddo Mills was arrested for allegedly withholding title to an auto he sold last spring that has an outstanding lien.

In May 2019, the suspect sold a 2006 sport-utility vehicle for $4,250. After making three installment payments, the buyer was unable to complete the transaction, according to reports, because the suspect allegedly refused to meet with her and transfer title.

Investigators determined that the title actually was held by a title and payday loan company.

Johnson is charged with fraudulent motor vehicle transfer, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years. Records show that the suspect currently is on probation in Rockwall County for forgery, using a false name and submitting false information.

The case is pending prosecution in Gregg County.

Mario Fernandez Cruz, 26, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain sizable quantities of diesel fuel from a Houston convenience store.

Investigators reportedly observed the suspect conducting multiple transactions before leaving the premises. During a subsequent traffic stop, they discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of the suspect’s pickup truck. The vehicle had been modified to receive, transport and dispense fuel, reports show.

Eight “cloned” charge cards were confiscated from the suspect and a passenger.

Cruz is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license. Local authorities also have charged both him and the passenger, Leandro Cancino-Beldarrain, with fraudulently using/possessing counterfeit credit cards. Both offenses are third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

CID and the Houston Police Department collaborated in the investigation of the cases, which are pending prosecution in Harris County.

Loannys Martinez Casa, 36, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain sizable quantities of diesel fuel from a Houston convenience store.

Local police reportedly observed the suspect conducting three suspicious transactions and confiscated 33 “cloned” charge cards from a wallet in his possession. They also discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of his pickup truck. Reports show that it had been modified to receive, transport and dispense fuel.

Casa 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 fraudulently using/possessing counterfeit credit cards, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

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

Dec. 6

Eunelio Blancos, 39, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain more than 100 gallons of diesel fuel from a Houston convenience store.

Local police reportedly observed the suspect conducting multiple transactions and confiscated nine “cloned” charge cards in his possession. Officers also discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of the suspect’s sport-utility vehicle. Reports show that it had been modified to receive, transport and dispense fuel.

Blancos is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a license. Local authorities also have charged him with fraudulently using/possessing counterfeit credit cards. Both offenses are third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

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

Jesus Diaz Lavado, 26, of Miami, Fla. was arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded credit card to unlawfully obtain more than 38 gallons of diesel fuel worth $100 from a Conroe convenience store.

A state trooper reportedly observed the suspect pumping diesel directly into one of two oversized “saddle tanks” on either side of his box truck. It had been modified with auxiliary pumps and hose and nozzle connections consistent with receiving, transporting and dispensing fuel, reports show.

For failing to pay backup tax, Lavado is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, as well as with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest. Both offenses are second-degree felonies punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition, he 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.

CID assisted the Texas Department of Public Safety in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Montgomery County.

Yoankys Sotolongo-Torres, 29, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain more than 90 gallons of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Baytown last fall.

Sotolongo-Torres 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 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.

On Oct. 28, local police confiscated 56 “cloned” cards from the defendant and an accomplice; they allegedly used some of them in the four transactions officers reportedly observed. Investigators discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the cargo bed of their pickup truck consistent with motor fuel transporting, reports show.

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

Dec. 2

Mohammad Yasien Noorani, 51, of Tyler pleaded guilty in a Smith County district court to tobacco tax books and records violations, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and three years’ probation. He also was ordered to pay more than $1,400 in restitution plus court costs.

Noorani also had been accused of possessing tobacco products having more than $50 in taxes due. That charge was considered for sentencing purposes but dismissed in the plea agreement. Both offenses are third-degree felonies, each punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

In April 2018, Noorani, who owns and operates MM Novelty in Tyler, bought snuff, cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco and other products from vendors in Illinois and Michigan. Acting on a complaint, investigators inspected his store and seized a large quantity of tobacco products.

They subsequently found no valid invoices showing payment of Texas tobacco taxes to the distributors the defendant had identified. Consequently, he was charged with selling out-of-state tobacco products on which more than $1,000 in Texas taxes went unpaid, as well as with failing to keep required records of the transactions.

Arquimedes Cardoso Naranjo, 37, of Houston was arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded charge card to fraudulently obtain more than 37 gallons of diesel fuel worth almost $100 from a Hempstead meat market last fall.

On Nov. 25, the owner reportedly observed a suspicious transaction at one of the store’s fuel pumps and contacted local authorities. They confiscated several “cloned” cards including the gift card allegedly used when the suspect pumped fuel directly into a “saddle tank” on his box truck.

An inspection revealed that the tank was connected to a fuel “bladder” in the cargo area. The truck had been further modified to receive, transport and dispense large quantities of fuel, reports show.

For failing to pay backup tax, Naranjo is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, as well as with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest. Both offenses are second-degree felonies 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 identifying information, also a second-degree felony, and with credit/debit card abuse, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years.

CID assisted the Waller County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Waller County.

Dec. 1

Carlos Sanchez-Martinez, 32, of Homestead, Fla. pleaded guilty in a Burleson County district court to possessing re-encoded charge cards. He received deferred adjudication (no final conviction), three years’ probation and was fined $2,500. He also was ordered to pay court costs and perform 80 hours of community service.

Sanchez-Martinez admitted possessing 11 “cloned” credit and debit cards containing the cardholders’ personal financial data in June 2017. The defendant was indicted last March for fraudulent use and/or possession of identifying information, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Considered for sentencing purposes but dismissed in the plea agreement was a related felony credit card abuse charge, filed locally, punishable by six months up to two years in state jail.

CID assisted the Burleson County District Attorney’s Office in the investigation of the case.

November 2019

Nov. 20

Yasmanis Gutierrez-Gonzalez, 31, of Austin was indicted by a Bell County grand jury on Nov. 13 for using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain approximately 45 gallons of diesel fuel from two Killeen service stations this past summer.

On July 29, after reportedly observing the defendant pumping fuel into a vehicle, investigators confiscated three “cloned” cards from a trash can next to the last pump he had tried to use. One of the cards allegedly was used to acquire diesel.

Gutierrez-Gonzalez is charged with transporting motor fuel without proper shipping documents, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, as well as with fraudulent possession/use of identifying information, a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The defendant already was on probation (deferred adjudication; i.e., no final conviction) in Travis County for a similar offense. Local authorities are seeking to have his probation revoked based on the new indictment.

The case is pending prosecution in Bell County.

Noriel Del Valle Perez, 37, of Katy pleaded guilty in a Fort Bend County district court in September to motor fuel tax evasion, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and seven years’ probation. He also was fined $1,000 and must pay $450 restitution plus court costs and perform 200 hours of community service.

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

Perez admitted using three re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain 169 gallons of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Katy last August without paying the required backup tax.

Dismissed in the plea agreement were felony credit card abuse charges related to the purchases made with three of the 11 "cloned" cards confiscated from the defendant.

A store manager alerted Katy police upon observing the suspect using multiple cards to activate a fuel pump. The diesel was pumped into concealed “saddle” compartments flanking the bed of a large flatbed truck modified to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel.

Nov. 18

Yeison Valdes Nubiola, 29, of Austin was arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded charge card to unlawfully obtain almost 38 gallons of diesel fuel worth $100 from a Cibolo convenience store.

During a traffic stop in Schertz, officers discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of the suspect’s pickup truck. They also confiscated several “cloned” charge cards but no fuel transporting license or documentation.

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

CID assisted the Department of Public Safety in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Guadalupe County.

Nov. 15

Miguel Pulido, 46, of Katy was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain almost 500 gallons of diesel fuel worth more than $1,200 from several Katy service stations last April.

Pulido is charged with possessing more than 50 items of identifying information (i.e., the fraudulent cards), a first-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for five to 99 years or life and a fine of up to $10,000. For failing to pay the backup tax, he also is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Local police reportedly witnessed multiple purchases being made by the defendant at four locations before a constable conducted a traffic stop. The officer confiscated 75 “cloned” credit cards and discovered two, 250-gallon “tote tanks” concealed in the cargo area of his box truck, filled almost to capacity. The vehicle also had been modified with hoses, pumps and nozzles designed to receive, transport and dispense motor fuel, according to investigators.

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

Nov. 13

Yoandry Pereira Tamayo, 37, of Tampa, Fla. was arrested for allegedly using a re-encoded credit card to unlawfully obtain 38 gallons of diesel fuel worth $95 from a Porter gas station.

An investigator reportedly observed the suspect allegedly pumping diesel into an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of a pickup truck. The tank was discovered, along with the “cloned” card, during a subsequent traffic stop.

Tamayo is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without proper documentation, both second-degree felonies punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. 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.

Local authorities also are charging him with felony credit card abuse.

CID assisted the Department of Public Safety in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Montgomery County.

Nov. 8

Angelita Leyva Casterjon, 50, of Mount Pleasant and Jaime Salmeron, 45, of Leesburg were arrested for allegedly falsifying auto titles and defrauding the state out of more than $100,000 in motor vehicle sales taxes.

The pair is accused of falsely claiming tax exemptions for seller-financed sales that actually were cash transactions and retaining taxes collected from customers, at least since 2017.

Casterjon, the owner/operator of A&J Auto Sales in Mount Pleasant, also allegedly directed employees to understate sales prices on title applications. Investigators determined that she was paying Salmeron $700 a month to hold sales tax permits for her that she was unable to obtain on her own.

Each suspect is charged with tampering with government records and failing to remit more than $100,000 in tax collections. Both offenses are second-degree felonies punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner assisted CID in the investigation of the case, which is pending prosecution in Titus County.

Nov. 1

Cesar Achon, 34, of Houston pleaded guilty in a Fort Bend County district court to motor fuel tax evasion, receiving five years’ probation of a 10-year suspended prison sentence. He also was fined $1,000 and must pay almost $200 restitution plus court costs and perform 250 hours of community service.

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

Achon admitted using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel from a Katy gas station in July 2018. Investigators discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed behind a false wall in the cargo area of his box truck. They also confiscated several “cloned” cards in his wallet that he had tried to discard.

As part of his punishment, Achon must apologize to station management in writing.

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

Jorge Luis Rodriguez-Alvarez, 33, of Round Rock was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to obtain large quantities of diesel fuel at three Williamson County service stations last summer.

On Aug. 11, a CID investigator initially spotted a suspicious cargo box van in Jarrell and alerted Georgetown police. During a subsequent stop and search, the investigator confiscated 23 “cloned” cards, most of which were in a trash bin. They are believed to belong to the suspect, who was driving the van occupied by two other men. He claimed he used the diesel fuel in his car-washing business.

Reports show the van was outfitted with four, 250-gallon “tote” tanks in the cargo area linked together in the rear of the van. Two 75-gallon saddle tanks beneath the vehicle’s bed were connected to them with a hose. A power cord connected to a pump allowed for fuel transfer, according to reports.

Alvarez is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping document and fraudulent use/possession of identifying information. Each offense is a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Records show a motion to revoke Alvarez’s probation for felony sexual assault is pending in Travis County.

The Georgetown Police Department assisted CID in apprehending the suspects in this case, which is pending prosecution in Williamson County.

Luis Ochoa Cabrera, 58, of Seguin was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to obtain 142 gallons of diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in New Braunfels in the summer of 2017.

He is charged with transporting motor fuel without a cargo manifest or shipping document, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He also is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a transporter’s license and unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., the truck), both of which are third-degree felonies punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

On June 14, 2017, responding to a request from security personnel, local police arrested the defendant outside the store. They confiscated 25 “cloned” cards and discovered in the bed of his pickup truck an auxiliary fuel tank modified to receive, store and transport motor fuel.

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

In September 2017, Ochoa Cabrera pleaded guilty in a Travis County district court to motor fuel tax evasion and received five years’ deferred adjudication (no final conviction). He was fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $353 in court costs plus restitution and perform 200 hours of community service.

Cabrera admitted using re-encoded credit cards to illegally acquire approximately 59 gallons of diesel fuel from a Pflugerville convenience store in 2016.

A similar case is pending in Guadalupe County.

Abdiel A. Martinez-Viamonte, 24, of Houston was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel from a Katy retailer last summer.

On June 19, an officer discovered a large auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of the defendant’s pickup truck modified with hoses and nozzles for storing, transporting and dispensing fuel. The suspect did not possess any permits or licenses for same, according to reports.

For failing to pay backup tax, Martinez-Viamonte is charged with motor fuel tax evasion, a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Local authorities also have charged him with felony credit card abuse related to the fraudulent cards they confiscated.

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

Jose Luis Marquez, 19, of San Elizario pleaded guilty in a Pecos County district court to motor fuel tax evasion, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and five years’ probation. He also was fined $1,000 plus court costs and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service.

The offense is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. A related felony credit card abuse case was considered for punishment purposes and dismissed in the plea agreement.

Marquez admitted to twice using an oilfield pipeline company’s fleet fuel card to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel for resale from a Fort Stockton truck stop in June 2018. An identical case against his co-defendant, Jose Manuel Martinez, 30, also of San Elizario, is pending prosecution in Pecos County.

The pair was arrested in a “sting” operation using a tractor truck and a trailer, both of which were provided by a cooperating witness. One of the defendants used the card at a pump from which he dispensed fuel into the truck, while the other kept watch nearby in a parked car. On the witness’ prearranged signal, officers first detained the suspect at the pump, then the lookout.

October 2019

Oct. 30

Rauly Michel Veranes, 30 of Houston pleaded guilty in a Brazoria County district court to motor fuel tax evasion and credit card abuse, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and five years’ probation. He also must pay court costs and perform 160 hours of community service.

Veranes admitted using re-encoded charge cards to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel from a Pearland store in January. The offense is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

A related felony charge of fraudulent possession/use of identifying information was dismissed in the plea agreement.

Local police reported witnessing the purchases and arrested the defendant on the premises, confiscating 19 “cloned” credit cards. His pickup truck had been modified to conceal an auxiliary tank and other equipment designed to receive, transport and dispense large quantities of motor fuel.

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

Oct. 28

Yoankys Sotolongo-Torres, 29, and Orlando Goulet-Nazario, 30 both of Houston, were arrested 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 suspects, who allegedly used some of them in the four transactions reportedly observed. Investigators discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the cargo bed of their pickup truck consistent with motor fuel transportation.

Each suspect is charged with engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a transport license or permit. The offense is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Local authorities also are charging them with possessing more than 50 counterfeit credit cards.

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

Oct. 21

Fernando Longoria, 27 of Austin pleaded guilty in a Travis County court to operating amusement machines without a license or registration, receiving deferred adjudication (no final conviction) and two years’ probation. He also must perform 80 hours of community service and pay restitution to the state of $20,350.

Longoria admitted owning and operating multiple "8-liners" at two unlicensed Austin game rooms. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both.

In August 2018, CID investigators acting on a tip discovered 37 video slot machines without the requisite amusement tax decals in a game room in Southeast Austin. The defendant reportedly admitted owning those machines as well as others at another location on North Interstate Highway 35.

A felony drug possession charge stemming from a search during his booking into Travis County Jail was dismissed.

Oct. 18

Pedro Ismael Serrano Echevarria, 39 of Addison was indicted for allegedly using re-encoded charge cards to fraudulently obtain 148 gallons of diesel fuel worth almost $400 from a Gainesville convenience store last June.

Echevarria is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and transporting motor fuel without shipping documents. Both offenses are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

On June 18, a store employee alerted police to a fuel theft in progress. The defendant allegedly was pumping diesel into an external fuel cell in the bed of his pickup truck. Officers reportedly confiscated 24 “cloned” charge cards during a search following his arrest the next day.

The vehicle has been linked to prior fuel thefts at the same location earlier that week that may have netted more than 400 gallons of diesel, according to reports.

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

Rosbel Larosa Acebo, 37 of Miami, Fla. was arrested for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain more than 39 gallons of diesel fuel worth $100 from a chain convenience store in Baytown.

After confronting the suspect, a store loss prevention officer contacted local police. Upon arrival, they confiscated 11 “cloned” cards from the suspect. Investigators also discovered an auxiliary fuel tank concealed in the bed of his pickup truck.

Acebo 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. Local authorities also are charging him with fraudulent possession/use of identifying information.

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

Oct. 15

Enrique Cisneros, 43, of Houston and Yunior Paneque-Garlobo, 38 of Elizabeth, N.J. were indicted for allegedly using re-encoded credit cards to unlawfully obtain diesel fuel from a chain convenience store in Pearland last May.

A store employee reportedly witnessed the transaction and alerted local police, who stopped the suspects in their pickup truck. It was found to contain a large auxiliary tank mounted in the bed and connected to hoses, pumps and nozzles consistent with transporting and dispensing fuel.

The co-defendants are 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 engaging in a motor fuel transaction without a transport license or permit. Although the latter offense is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, it was upgraded to a second-degree felony as part of a criminal episode.

Local authorities also are charging the pair with unlawful use of a criminal instrument (i.e., the truck), a felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for six months up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.

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

Oct. 15

Mohammad Yasien Noorani, 51 of Tyler was indicted on charges of selling out-of-state tobacco products on which more than $1,000 in Texas taxes went unpaid and for failing to keep required records in the spring of 2018.

Noorani is accused of possessing tobacco products having more than $50 in taxes due and with books and records violations in April 2018. The offenses are third-degree felonies, each punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The owner/operator of MM Novelty in Tyler allegedly bought snuff, cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco and other products from vendors in Illinois and Michigan. Acting on a complaint investigators inspected his store and seized a large quantity of tobacco products.

They reported finding no valid invoices showing payment of Texas tobacco taxes to the distributors the defendant identified.

The case is pending prosecution in Smith County.

Oct. 3

Jose Alberto Nunez-Morgado, 49 of Austin, was indicted for allegedly using a re-encoded charge card to unlawfully obtain 74 gallons of diesel fuel worth $200 from a Seguin merchant last August.

He is charged with motor fuel tax evasion and fraudulent possession of identifying information, both second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Nunez-Morgado allegedly pumped the diesel into an auxiliary tank concealed in the bed of his pickup truck. Investigators reportedly confiscated 22 "cloned" charge cards from the defendant during his arrest.

The case is pending prosecution in Guadalupe County.

In March 2018, Nunez-Morgado received eight years’ probation, a $2,000 fine and 320 hours of community service for pleading guilty to motor fuel tax evasion and unlawful fuel transportation, both second-degree felonies, in Travis County.

Case News Archive »

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