Man Sentenced For Credit Card Scam Targeting Crafts Chain

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A California man who fled to Mexico after being charged in a widespread credit card scam involving arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison, according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey.

Jose Salazar, 45, of Riverside, must also pay $617,534 in restitution and will have to serve five years of supervised release once he's freed from prison. He had pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Salazar, who is also known as Tito, received a 51-month sentence. He and others were accused of installing bogus point-of-sale terminals at about 80 of the stores in 19 states during a three-month period in early 2011. The group stole about 94,000 debit and credit card numbers from the terminals and used them to create new cards and illegally withdraw cash, prosecutors said.

Salazar fled to Mexico after he was indicted in 2015, authorities have said, but was arrested in Mexico City in September 2020 and returned to the United States in January.