California man admits role in credit card scam targeting crafts chain

California

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A California man who fled to Mexico after being charged in a widespread credit card scam involving arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, federal prosecutors in New Jersey announced Thursday.

Jose Salazar, 44, of Riverside, faces up to 30 years in prison when he’s sentenced Aug. 10.

Salazar, who is also known as Tito, and others were accused of installing bogus point-of-sale terminals at about 80 of the stores in 19 states during a three-month period in early 2011. The group allegedly stole about 94,000 debit and credit card numbers from the terminals and used them to create new cards and illegally withdraw cash.

Salazar fled to Mexico after he was indicted in 2015, authorities have said, but was arrested in Mexico City last September and returned to the United States in January.

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