Criminal Investigation Division - Protecting Your Taxpayer Dollars
Midland Couple Sentenced in Federal Court for Their Roles in a Motor Fuel Diversion Scheme
Omar Hernandez Ruiz (above left), 38, of Midland, was sentenced on April 12, 2016, to 27 months in federal prison and 3 years supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343/18 U.S.C. 1349, and Alma Evangelina Valenzuela (above right), 41, of Midland, was sentenced on March 21, 2016, to 5 years federal probation for her role in the same criminal offense. She was also assessed a $6,000 fine and 300 hours of community service. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty to their roles in this scheme. Court documents alleged that Ruiz and Valenzuela, owners of a trucking company in Midland, Texas, purchased diverted portions of fuel loads destined for another company in Odessa, Texas. The fuel distributor was unaware of the diversions and their employee would report that he delivered the full load to the client and cause the fuel distributor to electronically bill the client for the entire order of fuel. Court documents alleged that the scheme occurred between January 2011 and December 2012. The fuel delivery driver, Salvador Garza, was previously sentenced in the case and served 21 months in federal prison. Both defendants along with Salvador Garza were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $800,000 jointly and severally to the victim in the case. The case was investigated by the FBI's Permian Basin Oilfield Theft Task Force and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Texas Comptroller. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas - Midland-Odessa Division as case number 7:15-CR-00171-RAJ.
Central Texas Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Motor Fuel Tax Fraud
An investigation conducted by the Texas Comptroller's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) recently led to the arrest and conviction of a Gorman, Texas, man on two counts of motor fuel tax fraud.
An Eastland jury sentenced Rickey Wayne Speer, 42, to 40 years in prison for unlawfully acquiring and selling large amounts of dyed diesel fuel.
"When people break Texas tax laws, they are not cheating the state &emdash; they are cheating their fellow Texans," Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. "It is our responsibility to prosecute those offenders."
With the assistance of Comptroller's CID, Eastland County Criminal District Attorney Russ Thomason proved that Speer intentionally or knowingly transported motor fuel to a location without delivering documents relating to the shipment, and that Speer engaged in a motor fuel transaction without being licensed to do so as required by law.
Speer was tried as a habitual felony offender and faced a minimum of 25 years to life in prison as a result of previous felony convictions.
The Eastland and Comanche County Sheriffs' offices also assisted with this investigation.
The mission of the CID is to deter intentional criminal conduct against the state tax laws administered by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Go to the Comptroller's website for more information about CID's work.