Man gets jail time for credit card scheme

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 November 2016 at 3:57 pm

ALBION – A man from Texas was sentenced to 60 days in Orleans County Jail plus three years probation for his role in a credit card scheme.

Yoel Martin Pena, 40, pleaded guilty on Sept. 26 to third-degree possession of a forged instrument. As part of a plea deal, he would not be sentenced to more than 364 days in jail. The charge also was downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Pena was originally charged in February 2012 when he and Felix Darias allegedly had 47 fraudulent credit cards that they used at the Albion Wal-Mart.

The two were Miami, Fla. residents and were charged with first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. Pena faced the additional charge of third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument because he allegedly had a fake South Carolina driver’s license.

Darias was sentenced for the crime, but Pena fled the area. He was picked up recently in Texas and extradited to Orleans County.

District Attorney Joe Cardone had offered Pena a plea deal on Monday for attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, which can carry up to 4 years in state prison. However, Cardone said he reviewed the case and possession of stolen or fraudulent credit cards is considered less of a crime than having stolen cash.

The change in the severity of the charge means Pena was looking at a maximum of one year in jail instead of four years in prison. With the plea deal, the sentence will be no more than 364 days in jail. That maximum sentence, at one day less than a full year, increases the chances that Pena can stay in the country and not be deported.

Judge James Punch gave Pena 60 days in jail plus probation, which Punch is a fitting punishment for a first-time offender.

He warned Pena is he commits any crimes on probation, he could be facing state prison and would likely be deported.

“I think he has learned his lesson,” his attorney Mark Lewis said at sentencing.

In other cases, two people pleaded guilty, including:

• Evan J. Vanskiver, 24, of Hilton admitted to felony driving while intoxicated on Feb. 25 in Albion. Vanskiver has a prior conviction in Parma in 2014.

As part of plea agreement, he will be sentenced to no more than one year in state prison on Jan. 30.

• Angela Tuitt, 20, from Queens pleaded guilty to attempted promoting of prison contraband in the first degree. She is an inmate at Albion Correctional Facility. She admitted to having a lock in a sock with the intent to use it as a weapon to protect herself on May 7, 2015.

The charge carries a maximum of 2 to 4 years in state prison. As part of a plea deal she will face 1 ½ to 3 years in prison. She is currently serving a 2-year sentence for attempted burglary in the second degree.

She will be sentenced on Feb. 27.

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