Two men are in jail after police made an arrest in connection with international credit card fraud being conducted in businesses in San Marcos and Austin.
A victim of the credit card fraud was notified by his credit card company of a purchase made in San Marcos on July 10, according to San Marcos Police Commander Terry Nichols. The man from Michigan later called Best Buy in San Marcos to verify the fraudulent activity.
The suspects returned the following day to make more purchases, when employees recognized them and notified the police who responded to the scene.
Police officers arrested Hector Gomez, 37, and Gabriel Rivas, 31, both of whom are from Mexico. Investigators then discovered the suspects had more than 50 credit cards in their possession, and over $27,000 worth of electronics and clothes in their vehicle.
“This is a big case, we knew we had a huge international case,” said Nichols. “At this time we have only identified three victims, one in Michigan and two in California.”
Gomez and Rivas have been charged with three counts of credit card abuse, a state jail felony, and one count of theft under $100,000, a third degree felony which is punishable by ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“We have initially filed some charges, but those charges could be elevated depending based on what we learn from the investigation,” said Hays County Criminal District Attorney Sherri Tibbe. “There is a possibility that these can be upgraded to a second degree felony depending on how many victims there were. I’ve never seen a case of this magnitude here.”
San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz applauded the efforts of the Police Department in capturing an international crime.
“No one likes to hear about crime in their community, but what you do want to know is that if you got it, you do want it stopped,” said Narvaiz. “We have the highest performing top level professionals in the San Marcos P.D. They are able to crack down criminals and when given any opportunity to solve a crime and bring people to justice they do so.”
San Marcos Police are working with the Hays County District Attorney’s Office, Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local merchants as they continue the investigation.
The men are in custody under bonds totaling $310,000 each.
By ANDY SEVILLA