Osdanay Gascon, a counterfeit credit card manufacturer, was sentenced to 20 years prison on June 20 by Judge Chad Bridges of the 240th District Court.
Gascon, a 37-year-old Houston-area man, was sentenced for engaging in organized criminal activity and for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, both first-degree felonies. Gascon was one of more than two dozen people involved in a large-scale identity theft and credit card fraud organized crime ring that operated in the Houston area between 2011 and 2013. Gascon pled guilty to the charges on May 9 and requested the court assess his punishment.
According to Assistant District Attorney Abdul Farukhi, Gascon worked with several individuals to buy stolen credit card and customer information, manufacture counterfeit credit cards, and use the counterfeit cards to make purchases at several local retailers.
Merchants affected by this crime included grocery, department, and warehouse stores. Testimony from a representative of a major retailer revealed that their company suffered credit card fraud losses of more than $100,000 a week. Gascon’s group was a responsible for causing more than $300,000 in credit card fraud losses at that retailer alone.
The state presented evidence that committing credit card fraud crimes was a way of life for Gascon. Court records showed Gascon’s criminal conduct dated back to 2011 when Gascon was placed on five years of probation for possessing and using over 30 fraudulent credit cards to buy gift cards and electronics at retailers in Arkansas. Between 2011 and 2013, Gascon, while on probation in Arkansas, traveled to numerous cities in Louisiana and Texas to continue to commit credit card fraud.
In 2013, a task force comprised of officers from the Houston Police Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, and United States Secret Service began surveillance of members of Gascon’s organized crime ring.
In March of 2013, search warrants were executed on Gascon’s residences where law enforcement found evidence of wire transfers sent to the Ukraine to purchase stolen credit card numbers. Gascon was also found with counterfeit card manufacturing equipment and more than 150 counterfeit credit cards.
Gascon was arrested and indicted in 2013, but posted bail and fled the country before his court hearing.
Gascon returned to the United States two years later using a fake ID and resumed his counterfeit card operation in Colorado.
In January 2015, Gascon was arrested at a mall in Broomfield, Colo., possessing more than 40 counterfeit card accounts.
Gascon testified at the hearing and stated that he used the counterfeit cards to support his six children. In his defense, and in a disclosure that obviously backfired, Gascon asked the court for a lenient sentence because he had committed the crimes with the expectation that he would receive probation. The state argued that Gascon knew of the consequences of his actions, had several opportunities to stop his criminal conduct, and chose to be a career criminal.
“Today law enforcement, prosecutors, and Judge Bridges have sent a message to all criminals that credit card fraud is a crime that doesn’t pay,” said lead prosecutor Abdul Farukhi.
Assistant District Attorneys Abdul Farukhi and Scott Carpenter prosecuted the case. Attorney Harris Wood Jr. represented the defendant.