Fugitive Arrested in Michael’s Crafts Credit Card Scam
CAMDEN, N.J. — A California man charged in a widespread credit card scam involving arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels is back in New Jersey after several years on the run.
Jose Salazar fled to Mexico after he was indicted in 2015, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Salazar and others were accused of installing bogus point-of-sale terminals at about 80 of the stores in 19 states in 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, 44, of Riverside was arrested in Mexico City last September and made his initial court appearance in Camden by videoconference on Thursday, the U.S. attorney’s office said. He pleaded not guilty and was held without bail.
Salazar faces one count each of bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy count carries a maximum prison term of 30 years.
Two others have pleaded guilty for participating in the scheme. Angel Angulo of Riverside was sentenced in 2018 to three years in prison and ordered to pay $480,300 in restitution. Crystal Banuelos was sentenced to time served and five years’ probation.