Man accused of gas card skimming in Smith County will face trial

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A Houston man accused of placing card skimmers at an East Texas gas station must now go to trial.

Nelson Isac Fernandez-Lopez is facing a charge of unlawful use of a criminal instrument. Fernandez-Lopez was arrested back in 2017 with gas pump skimmers and card readers in his possession.

His partner in the alleged crime Adriano Aldana-Rodriguez recently received a four year jail sentence.  However, Fernandez-Lopez's plea hearing didn't turn out as expected.

The court did not follow the recommendation of a four year jail sentence by the state in this case.

"He did not admit culpability the same way the other guy did [...] and to get a deal you have to admit guilt pretty outright," Assistant District Attorney Bryan Jiral said.

Tyler Police recovered several skimmers during this arrest that had collected almost 400 stolen credit card numbers. While committing card skimming can result in jail time it is the customers who pay the price.

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"Typically they don't pay restitution back," he said. "One reason is they're going to the pen and then the other reason is this is kind of an odd crime in that they don't steal money they'll get credit card numbers and then they'll fraudulently charge them later on which is usually reimbursed by the credit card company."

Fernandez-Lopez will face trial on July 23.

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