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EMT Convicted of $3,800 in Unauthorized Gas Charges

KINGSVILLE, Texas -- A 26-year-old emergency medical technician has been convicted of racking up about $3,800 in unauthorized gasoline charges on an ambulance company's credit card.

Belen Garza was tried in a Kingsville court last week and found guilty of 23 counts of credit card abuse, a state jail felony.

Garza was accused of using a credit card she was issued by Mid Valley EMS to purchase unleaded gasoline for her personal benefit. The credit card was supposed to be used to fill up the diesel-fueled ambulances. The charges were made at three gas stations in Kingsville from Sept. 21, 2007, to Oct. 22, 2007, according to a news release from District Attorney John Hubert.

Visiting Judge Federico Hinojosa sentenced Garza to two years in prison on each count, but suspended the prison time and placed her on three years probation. She also was ordered to pay $3,800 in restitution.

Hubert praised Assistant District Attorney Aida Trevino for her work prosecuting the case.

"These types of thefts are difficult to prove because no one actually sees the defendant stealing. The case is entirely based on circumstantial evidence," Hubert said in the release.

Garza's attorney, Homero Canales, said Tuesday he plans to file a motion for a new trial.

"In my opinion, it was a miscarriage of justice," he said.

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