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Press Release

Local Businessman Convicted of Credit Card Fraud and ID Theft

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The owner of American Auto Pros in Corpus Christi has admitted he used numerous credit card accounts belonging to others in order to obtain things of value without authorization, announced Acting United States Attorney Abe Martinez. Antonio Arteaga, 38, of Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty to one count of credit card fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.


Arteaga was arrested Aug. 18, 2017, following an investigation into a series of fraudulent ATM withdrawals in Corpus Christi and surrounding areas. Many of the victims had been customers at Arteaga’s business, American Auto Pros. Authorities executed a search warrant at the business which led to the discovery of a credit card processing pad that was connected to a laptop computer in the office. This allowed Arteaga to illegally capture the account information and PIN numbers of credit and debit cards used there.


During a subsequent search of Arteaga’s home, law enforcement found a magnetic strip encoder that had been used to replace the information on the magnetic strip of gift cards with the compromised credit and debit card numbers. Agents also found numerous altered gift cards with the encoder at Arteaga’s house and additional gift cards illegally re-encoded with victim’s credit card information in Arteaga’s vehicle and wallet. 


Agents determined that between Dec. 10, 2016, and Aug. 18, 2017, Arteaga unlawfully used the credit and debit card information of dozens of American Auto Pros customers to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars from his victims’ accounts. 


U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has set sentencing for Jan. 30, 2018. At that time, Arteaga faces up to 10 years in federal prison for the credit card fraud. For the aggravated identity theft, he will also be subject to a mandatory two years which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. All charges also carry the potential of a $250,000 maximum fine


He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.


The Secret Service conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Corpus Christi Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting the case.    

Updated November 2, 2017

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft