Houston man convicted of identity theft

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HOUSTON - One day after going on trial, a Houston man has pleaded guilty to identity theft.

The trial for Joseph Russell, 30, started Monday. After hearing a portion of the government's evidence against him, he pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of access device fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

That evidence included video footage showing Russell using debit/credit card information without the cardholder's permission at various Houston-area Walmart stores.

Several of the victims also took the stand and testified how they did not know Russell, nor did they give him permission to use their information.

The videos were obtained by U.S. Secret Service agents.

When Russell was arrested, his vehicle and hotel room were searched.  Investigators said they found gift cards re-encoded with the debit/credit card information of 18 different individuals from throughout the United States.

Russell is in custody.  His sentencing hearing is set for April 27.  He he faces up to 10 years in prison to be followed by up to another three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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