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Press Release

Texas National Guardsman Sentenced in Government Credit Card Theft Ring

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

A Texas National Guardsman was sentenced to two years in federal prison and order to repay a $75,000 fine for theft of government money, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Emmanuel Alvarado, 35, is the third of three conspirators to be sentenced for participating in a scheme to use stolen government fuel credit cards ("fleet cards") to purchase fuel for themselves and others. In September 2019, Mr. Alvarado pled guilty to one count of theft of government money.

According to information provided in court, Mr. Alvarado, along with Carlos Espinola, 48, and Don Wright, 41, knew each other through service in the Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG).

In their positions with the TXARNG, Mr. Espinola and Mr. Wright had access to General Services Administration and Department of Defense "fleet cards" used to purchase fuel and maintenance for government vehicles. Mr. Espinola and Mr. Wright stole fleet cards from the TXARNG and shared them with Mr. Alvarado. Mr. Espinola also obtained a "skimming" device, which he used to replicate stolen fleet cards.

Mr. Alvarado owned automotive businesses in the Fort Worth area, which, among other things, offered towing services. Mr. Alvarado used the fleet cards to fuel his tow trucks, as well as other vehicles. In exchange for the fleet cards, Mr. Alvarado paid Mr. Espinola a fee. The conspirators' thefts caused a loss exceeding $100,000 to the United States.

In September 2019, Mr. Alvarado pled guilty to one count of theft of government money. Mr. Espinola and Mr. Wright earlier pled guilty to conspiracy charges. Mr. Espinola was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison. Mr. Wright was sentenced to 3 months of confinement. The defendants were each ordered to pay restitution to the government.

The U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Boudreau prosecuted the case.


Todd Martin
Public Affairs

Updated September 4, 2020