Two Miami men pleaded guilty in Erie County Court Friday morning to having forged credit cards at Buffalo’s HarborCenter. One the men is a Cuban national who could face deportation because of the conviction.
William Castro Landa, 29, and Jossue Torres Medina, 23, each pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. The men were originally charged with identity theft after being caught trying to use the cards between May 1 and 4 at the Main Street sports and hotel complex.
Landa is from Cuba but has a green card and is in the United States legally. However, his conviction could affect that status.
Landa’s attorney, Robert Cutting, said that they had discussed the “possible negative consequences” of the crime but agreed that by pleading guilty Landa hoped to reduce his chances of being deported.
Judge Timothy P. Franczyk said he was inclined to sentence Landa to one year in a county corrections facility when he returns to court in August, and the deportation question would be answered after his release.
Medina is a U.S. citizen but he also appears to have a prior felony conviction in Florida. Should that crime prove also to be considered a felony in New York, Franczyk said, Medina would be looking at a likely sentence of two to four years in prison. He also is scheduled to be back in court in August.