YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Former fugitive Luis “Junito” Colon pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark today to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, which could send him to federal prison for up to seven years.
Colon, 29, admitted buying large quantities of pesticides using stolen credit and debit cards on the Internet or over the phone from companies located in Georgia, Texas and elsewhere. The pesticides were for commercial use and not terrorism, the government said.
Investigators say Colon got the credit and debit card information from homeowners by convincing them he worked for a utility company and was giving them a discount for setting up automatic billing.
He had the materials shipped to addresses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for resale at a store in Philadelphia, the FBI said.
A tipster who saw a digital billboard on a New Jersey highway led FBI agents to the tattooed felon, who jumped bail last year and was considered armed and dangerous.
They came up quickly on Colon as he got into a car in a suburb outside of Detroit on April 9.
The 6-foot, 180-pound fugitive was difficult to miss: He has several tattoos, including stars on his neck, an image of Jesus on his chest and a cross on his back.
“He is considered very violent and is known to typically carry a gun,” Special Agent Bryan L. Travers of the Newark FBI Field Office told CLIFFVIEW PILOT on Nov. 16, 2011, the day Colon failed to show up in federal court for his arraignment.
He’d been free on bail, with electronic monitoring, after being arrested here in September.
U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh set a Sept. 24 sentencing date. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Colon faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy conviction and up to two years for the other count.
Under the terms of the plea deal, the sentences would be served consecutively.