Crime

Cuban man gets 5 years in prison for using fake gift cards at North Texas Wal-Marts

A blurred police car is in the background behind yellow crime scene tape.
A blurred police car is in the background behind yellow crime scene tape. Getty Images/iStockphoto

A man who pleaded guilty to using fake gift cards to defraud several North Texas stores was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday.

Roberto Carlos Puebla Saavedra, 32, who is originally from Cuba, was also ordered to pay more than $408,000 in restitution.

During a two-year period, Saavedra and his co-conspirators loaded money onto prepaid gift cards they created, went into Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and other retail stores in North Texas and purchased merchandise using the fake gift cards.

Saavedra worked with someone who was getting access to debit card numbers from people with accounts at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, USAA Bank, Citizens National Bank and Citizens State Bank without the permission or the knowledge of the account holders, according to court documents.

Saavedra and his co-conspirators were making the cards themselves and encoding them with the stolen account holder information, a factual résumé said. The factual résumé, which spells out the facts in the case, was agreed to by the prosecutors and defense attorneys on the case. The fraudulent behavior took place between August 2014 and July 2016, the factual résumé said.

The scheme was discovered after an investigator from J.P. Morgan Chase observed a large volume of fraudulent transactions being made with unauthorized J.P. Morgan Chase debit card numbers at Wal-Mart stores in the Fort Worth and Dallas areas, a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office stated.

J.P. Morgan Chase’s investigator worked with Wal-Mart investigators to collect surveillance footage and conduct surveillance of the defendants engaging in the fraudulent transactions, the release stated.

Fort Worth Police and the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office are looking for these 10 fugitives. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Call 817-469-8477.

Arlington Police are looking for these 10 fugitives. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Call 817-469-8477.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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