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Federal Agents Arrest Merced Man in Credit Card Scam



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Ruben Chavez III, 36, of Merced, was arrested Friday after a federal grand jury indicted him for alleged credit card fraud. (Shutterstock)
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Ruben Chavez III, 36, of Merced, was arrested Friday after a federal grand jury indicted him the previous day for credit card fraud and related identity theft.

According to court documents, from April 2021 through March 2022, Chavez obtained victims’ credit cards and used them to make more than $60,000 in fraudulent purchases. He also allegedly changed the victims’ mailing addresses to his own address and created fake identification cards in their names to help further his fraud.

If convicted, Chavez faces from two years to 10 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton is prosecuting the case.

Fresno Men Indicted in Illegal Gun Possession Cases

The federal grand jury also returned indictments on Thursday against Mike Marty Hernandez, 26, and Julio Cesar Lopez, 33, in separate cases involving alleged illegal firearm possession, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced in a news release.

Both of the accused are from Fresno.

Hernandez was arrested on May 23 after law enforcement officers observed him in possession of a loaded 9 mm handgun equipped with a large-capacity magazine. In 2019, Hernandez was convicted of threatening a public official. He is prohibited from having a firearm, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say that Lopez had a loaded 45‑caliber semi-automatic with a 13-round magazine with him on May 17. A subsequent search of Lopez’s residence recovered a sawed-off shotgun and about 50 rounds of ammo. Lopez has previous convictions for burglary, evading a peace officer, and firearms offenses.

Hernandez and Lopez face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonio J. Pataca is prosecuting these cases.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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